by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform explains for Forbes readers why Congress would be wise to look at North Carolina’s record before deciding to reinstate expired long-term unemployment benefits.
Since ending long-term unemployment benefits, the rate of job growth in North Carolina has seen a marked uptick and the unemployment rate has gone down at a much faster rate than the nation as a whole. The state’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent in July of 2013, the month extended federal unemployment benefits ended in North Carolina, to 6.4 percent in February of this year. This 20 percent reduction in the state’s unemployment rate is well over double the eight percent drop in unemployment that occurred nationally during that time.
Dan Clifton, partner and head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners, points out that employment in North Carolina has increased 1.3 percent since extended benefits expired, nearly triple the rate of national employment growth.
Critics of the decision to end extended unemployment benefits in North Carolina – such as Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and the so-called “Moral Monday” protestors who have brought the toxicity of state politics to new heights by accusing those with whom they have policy disagreements of being immoral – have been left looking a bit foolish and have no answers for why their dire prognostications did not come to fruition. John Hood, President of the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation, highlights the recovery that has taken place in North Carolina since extended UI payments expired:
“North Carolina has added jobs at a much faster rate in the second half of 2013 than it did in the first half of the year, when extended UI benefits were still in place,” Hood said. “That’s consistent with empirical research suggesting that extended benefits deter both creating and taking jobs. The picture for 2013 is also contrary to the pattern in 2012, when North Carolina’s job growth was somewhat stronger in the first half of the year than it was in the second half.”