Newly revised employment data show that 2013 was the strongest year for job growth in North Carolina since the Great Recession. Those numbers contradict liberal arguments about the impact of policies adopted by the conservative-led General Assembly, according to new analysis from the John Locke Foundation‘s president.
The N.C. Employment Security Commission’s latest report lists the state’s official unemployment rate at 6.7 percent in January, down 0.2 percentage points from December’s revised rate of 6.9 percent.
The North Carolina rate remains above the national average of 6.6 percent. But the gap between the state and national rates is the smallest reported in more than a year.
Beyond the headline numbers, JLF President John Hood notes with interest new revisions in establishment-survey data the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collects to help compute unemployment rates.
“According to the revised establishment-survey data, 2013 was the strongest year of job growth in North Carolina since the end of the recession,” Hood said. “From December 2012 to December 2013, North Carolina employers added 85,600 positions, a 2.1 percent increase, compared with 73,200 net new jobs in 2012 (1.9 percent) and 49,600 jobs net new jobs in 2011 (1.3 percent).”
Those numbers contrast sharply with arguments from left-of-center pundits, who contend that North Carolina’s economy suffered in comparison to other states during the first year of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration. 2013 marked the first year that a Republican governor worked with the Republicans who took control of the General Assembly in 2011.
“Since the legislature began implementing conservative fiscal and regulatory reforms in mid-2011, North Carolina has added 180,000 net new jobs, a growth rate of 4.6 percent,” Hood said. “That’s higher than the national average of 4.3 percent job growth during the same period (June 2011 to January 2014).”