The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

N.C. unemployment rate rises to record high

These past few years have been the first in which I have actually made an active effort to remain informed about the economy because like most people, I have been personally affected. I began watching the news actively, reading articles, asking questions, and best of all, I interned at City A.M., a London-based financial, business and stock market news newspaper.

I learned a lot and I still have a long way to go.

But what did this accomplish?

The economic downturn is still as severe as ever and while there might be some slight improvements, many factors are getting worse.

The North Carolina State Employment Security Commission (ESC) reported on March 27 that North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased to 10.7 percent in February from 9.7 percent in January.

In Feb. 2008 the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent.

As a rising senior, who might not be able to afford graduate school yet, this is something to be concerned about. And judging by the rising unemployment all over the country, moving to a different state is not a solution.

According to CNN, North Carolina is one of seven states with double-digit unemployment. Michigan is on top of the list with 12.1 percent, followed by South Carolina, Rhode Island and California – all with about 10 percent.

In early March, the federal government reported that in February employers cut 651,000 jobs across the country, raising the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent, which is the highest it has been in 25 years.

According to local Raleigh news channel WRAL, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has been increasing for the past 13 months. The 10.7 percent breaks the previous 10.2 state unemployment record of the 1983 recession.

In order to help ease job losses, NC Governor Beverly Perdue decided that the time has come to use NC’s “rainy day” funds. According to ABC local news (Chanel 11), “Earlier this year, Governor Beverly Perdue said tapping North Carolina’s rainy day fund would be a last option. It appears that time has come.”

According to Perdue, using these funds is necessary due to North Carolina’s increasing unemployment rate in light of the worsening nationwide recession.

“The sharp rise in unemployment combined with a significant decrease in state revenue has required me to take certain steps to responsibly manage the state’s cash flow,” said Perdue.

According to WRAL reports, Perdue hopes that unemployment rates will decline through her $21 billion budget proposal to retrain workers.

“We all are just hopeful the bleeding will stop soon,” said Perdue. “This is hard news for North Carolina, hard news for the country. We just all hope that sunshine begins soon.”

And until then, what can we do?

After making an effort to get educated, I realized that while the economic climate is still dreary, I feel more empowered and I am not as scared. I have been able to develop relevant and educated opinions about what needs to be done, what politicians to support and the most valuable of all – how and why is this all happening?

President Obama’s stimulus plan will give money to the state Employment Security Commission to help them meet record demand during the recession.

According to WRAL, “N.C. paid out $212 million in unemployment benefits in February and has started borrowing money from the federal government to cover benefits payments.”

“We need help on many levels, simply because we’re dealing with an unprecedented capacity issue,” Clegg said. (another quote with a floating head attribute. No mention as to who Clegg is in the article anywhere else.)

Under the stimulus plan, $7 billion from the Federal Unemployment Account will be given to states to assist them in paying for unemployment benefits.

Clegg said that North Carolina expects to receive $205 million, along with $14.6 million from the Unemployment Insurance Administration’s State Grants Program and $10.9 million from the Employment Service and Re-employment Activity programs that are run by the U.S. Department of Labor.

I have faith in Obama and his plan, but time will tell how effective it will be.

I still might not find a job after I graduate, but I would at least like to know what needs to be done so that we can recover from this Great Recession.

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