Economy Strengthens as Unemployment Drops

Without a doubt, 2013 was a productive year for North Carolina and job creation. The business community accomplished numerous state legislative victories that will help drive real economic recovery and create good jobs for North Carolinians. The state’s unemployment level is currently at a five-year low, dropping to 7.4% in November. Data from the N.C. Department of Commerce shows the state’s unemployment rate started in 2013 as one of the highest in the country but has fallen two percentage points from November 2012. The state’s unemployment rate is now .4 percentage points higher than the U.S. average, compared with 1.6 percentage points higher in November 2012.

In a report, Wells Fargo Securities economist Mark Vitner points to reforms to the state unemployment insurance system as a contributor to the fall in unemployment. As outlined in this Charlotte Observer article, “Vitner found evidence that job seekers who had used up their benefits took jobs because the civilian employment in the state rose by 39,400 over the past three months. In comparison, in the first eight months of the year, employment declined by 45,100.” Vitner’s report continues to say, “A cursory review … suggests the employment effect has been more powerful, as civilian employment has reversed an earlier downward slide.”

We are proponents that economic stimulation and growth comes from getting our citizens back to work. The NC Chamber championed House Bill 4, passed in Feb. 2013, which allows North Carolina to bolster its competitive position in the future through a balanced approach and encourages quicker re-employment. Read more about North Carolina’s UI reform and how it impacts your bottom line!

Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber

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