N.C. Unemployment Falls

A little good news on the labor front today, as North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.6%, the News and Record reported today.  The rate was 9.7% last month.

If you’re looking for work, please remember that Greensboro Public Library would like to help.  We’ve got a full-time employment counselor named Kim Hailey, as well as some great resources on our Job and Career Information page.

Guilford Unemployment Up Again

The State of North Carolina’s county unemployment data is out today, and it suggests the recovery is still a little shaky with 45 counties showing month over month increases in June.  

Guilford’s jobless is now 10.9%, up from 10.6% in May.

Please remember, if you’re in the ranks of the unemployed and looking for work, Greensboro Public Library would like to help.  Why not try out our Job and Career Information page?

Krugman Now Warning About Deflation

Ever since the financial crisis really took hold of the economy back in September, 2008, Princeton economist Paul Krugman has been warning about the grim prospect of Japanese-style deflation — a grinding, slow-growth economic malaise that could go on for years.

This past week he expressed the same views again (here, here and here), following an article by John Makin appearing in the conservative American Enterpise Institute’s Outlook Series which makes much the same argument.

Krugman writes that “it’s a good bet that we’ll be seeing deflation by sometime next year.”  Makin believes it may be even sooner.  “By later this year,” he says, “persistent excess capacity will probably create actual deflation in the United States and Europe.”  

Deflation is already happening in other countries.  Prices have been falling every year in Japan since 2004, Ireland’s deflation rate is 2.7%, Spain is close to being deflationary at a year-over-year core inflation rate of 0.1%, and core inflation rates are dropping in both the United States and Europe.

But deflation means lower prices, so how could lower prices be bad, you may wonder?

Well, deflation is great for folks who have plenty of cash (the further prices drop, the more their money is worth), but the great risk is a deflationary spiral in which reduced economic activity leads to lower and lower production and wages, less lending, more layoffs, and a general stagnation.

If you’d like to learn more about deflation, Greensboro Public Library has a couple of titles which look particularly useful:  Conquer the Crash:  You Can Survive and Prosper in a Deflationary Depression by Robert R. Prechter, Jr.; and Deflation:  What Happens When Prices Fall by Chris Farrell.

We also have quite a few recent books on the economic crisis.  For a list of those, please see this post.

Krugman Fears It’s a Depression

Back in the Spring of 2009, in what must have been the darkest days of the financial crisis, we wondered in this blog if we were on the verge of a depression.  I’ve since gotten used to calling this period of economic woe the Great Recession, but now it seems Princeton economist Paul Krugman has decided we’re probably in “the early stages of a third depression” — the first being the “Long Depression” of the 1870s (following the Panic of 1873), the other the “Great Depression” of the 1930s.

You can link to Krugman’s op-ed which appeared in the New York Times earlier this week here.

If you’re interested, here are a few of Greensboro Public Library’s most recent titles on the economic crisis:  On the Brink:  Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson, Jr.; I.O.U.:  Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay by John Lanchester; The Great Reset:  How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-crash Prosperity by Richard Florida; C risis Economics:  A Crash Course in the Future of Finance by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm; The Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis; The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein; and Chasing Goldman Sachs:  How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down — and Why They’ll Take Us to the Brink Again by Suzanne McGee.

Unemployment Down Again in N.C.

Just a brief note here that North Carolina’s unemployment rate was down for May to 10.3%, the News and Record reported today.

This is the third straight month of declines since February’s 11.2%.  

As for the national picture, the jobless rate dropped to 9.7%, a decline of .2% versus April, but, according to this MSNBC article, this may be attributable to the fact that lots of folks have simply given up looking.

As always, if you’re looking for work, please remember Greensboro Public Library’s job search page.

N.C. Unemployment is Looking a Little Better

Just a brief note that North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell in April to 10.8%, according to today’s News and Record.  This was down from 11.2% in February.

There are also hopeful signs for a downward trend nationally, as MSNBC reported today that April jobless rates declined in 34 of the 50 states.  However, the national rate still remains very high at 9.9%, and it’s expected to be years before we get back even close to full employment.

If you’re out of work and looking for a job, please remember that Greensboro Public Library has plenty of resources which may be of help.  We’ve just recently hired a new job counselor, Ms. Erica Saunders, and you can check out our online resources here.

State Releases County Unemployment Rates for February

The North Carolina Employment Security Commission released its county unemployment data for February today, the News and Record reported.

As you might have guessed, joblessness remains high across North Carolina.  As the chart above indicates, most county unemployment rates in the state fall in the 10.1-14.0% range (59 counties).  Guilford County’s February rate, which was unchanged from January at 11.8%, falls close to the middle of this range.  All regions of North Carolina are well represented in this large group.

However, over one-quarter of the state’s counties (27) have rates over 14.1%, and well over half of these (17) are concentrated in the western mountain and western piedmont sections.  These especially hard-hit counties include:  Alexander (14.5%), Alleghany (15.3%), Ashe (16.2%), Burke (15.6%), Caldwell (17.6%), Catawba (15.3%), Cherokee (16.8%), Cleveland (15.5%), Gaston (14.5%), Graham (19.4%), Lincoln (14.7%), McDowell (16.0%), Mitchell (14.4%), Rutherford (17.9%), Swain (17.6%), Wilkes (14.6%), and Yancey (14.5%). 

Many of these western and western piedmont counties had suffered from declining manufacturing, e.g., textiles, even before the Financial Crisis of 2008, but it is perhaps also significant that none of these counties benefit from the presence of a state university.  In fact, the western piedmont is one of the few contiguous regions in North Carolina which lacks a state university.     

The correlation between the presence of institutions of higher education and low or at least lower unemployment is also evidenced among the fourteen counties which come in with less than 10% jobless rates.  Those counties which have been most resilient to the impact of the recession upon employment include the Research Triangle’s Orange (6.9%), Durham (8.5%), and Wake (9.2%), as well as Buncombe (9.7%) and Watauga (9.4%).  Of course, all of these counties include significant state and/or private universities and colleges.

If you’re out-of-work and looking for a job, please remember Greensboro Public Library’s Job and Career Information page.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library System Hit by Major Budget Crisis

Librarians and library patrons across North Carolina have no doubt been stunned by developments in Mecklenburg County this past week, where for a few days it appeared that a huge budget gap would necessitate the closing of half of the County’s public library branches.

The library’s problems originated with a $34.6 million dollar shortfall in Mecklenburg County’s budget for FY 2009-10.  As a consequence, departments throughout Mecklenburg County government were asked to reduce their budgets and the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County had to find $2 million in reductions. 

Faced with only grim alternatives, on March 18th Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s board of trustees voted to close twelve of the system’s twenty-four branches effective April 3rd.  Under this proposal, 148 staff would also have been laid off.   

However, following a sustained public outcry — including a fund-raising effort which has now reached almost $250,000 — on Wednesday of this week the trustees rescinded the decision to close the branches.  Instead, they decided to reduce staff salaries 5-20%, lay off fewer staff (82-84), and reduce hours/days of operation and services.  The new hours take effect April 5th. 

The latest plan is nonetheless hardly cause to breathe a sigh of relief, and projections for next year’s budget for Charlotte-Mecklenburg continue to be dire.  According to this article, “the real pain” is coming in the budget for 2010-11 when county officials face the possibility of close to $100 million in cuts to the current $1.4 billion dollar county budget.  As many as 500 county staff may lose their jobs.

Charlotte-Meck’s library system is not the only one in North Carolina with budget woes.  For example, Wake County may have to close their Southeast Regional branch in Garner in order to close a $1.2 budget gap next year.

According to this New York Times article, state and local governments across the country cut 45,000 jobs during January and February, and more layoffs are expected as these governments begin to plan their budgets for the next fiscal year.  

Times are simply tough all around.  And libraries are no exception.

Guilford Unemployment Rises in January

Unemployment was up again in Guilford during January to 11.8%, the News and Record reported today.  That’s an increase of .6% from December. 

The state-wide rate for January was also 11.8% before seasonal adjustments (11.1% with seasonal adjustments).

Believe it or not though, many counties in North Carolina are faring even worse than Guilford.  Among our neighbors, for instance, the jobless rate for January was 13.2% in Alamance, 14.6% in Rockingham, and 12.8% in Randolph.  Forsyth’s was a little better at 10.6%.

These rates do not of course count folks who have given up looking for work or settled for part-time jobs.      

You can examine county jobless rates across the state at the Employment Security Commission’s website.

And if you’re looking for work, please remember Greensboro Public Library’s job links page.

January Unemployment is 11.1% in N.C.

North Carolina’s January unemployment was 11.1%, up from December’s revised 10.9%, the News and Record reported today.

Before the current recession, the State’s previous high was 9.7%, recorded in March 1983.  According to the News and Record, that rate was surpassed in February 2009, and we haven’t dropped below that level since — just more evidence for the severity of the current downturn. 

If you’re job hunting, please remember Greensboro Public Library’s Job and Career Information page.