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Features Economic news mixed: unemployment rises...

...even as personal income grows

North Carolina’s unemployment rate ticked up a bit in November as the state lost 12,500 jobs, according to numbers released Friday, Dec. 17, by the state Employment Security Commission.

But according to other numbers, personal income in North Carolina has still grown more than in any state in the Southeast — and more than in all but three other states — since the lowest point of the recession.

“These numbers show us that North Carolina’s economic recovery needs support from policymakers,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the NC Budget & Tax Center. “All options must be on the table to preserve jobs – including raising revenue to keep teachers, mental health workers and other employees at work.”

North Carolina’s unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent. Besides the overall job loss, more than 3,000 workers left the labor force from October to November 2010, and since last year at this time the labor force has contracted by more than 1 percent.

Raising revenue, Sirota said, would help support both public- and private-sector jobs, speeding North Carolina’s economic recovery.

Painting a brighter picture were the state personal income numbers, also released on Friday by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Personal income growth in North Carolina slowed a bit in the third quarter of 2010, the numbers say, but income is still growing in North Carolina. Since the recession’s lowest point, North Carolinians’ incomes have grown 6.1 percent, about 45 percent faster than the national and southeastern average.

During the third quarter, numbers released today show, North Carolina residents’ income grew nearly 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2010, ranking 22nd nationally and 2nd in the Southeastern states east of the Mississippi.

“The economy is recovering, but our recovery is fragile,” said Sirota. “Lawmakers should leave all options for helping North Carolina’s families on the table.”


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