Carolina Journal News Reports
CJ Series

Getting Jobs Data Right

Politicians try to spin jobs reports for partisan gain. CJ's reporting, led by Don Carrington, former deputy director of the N.C. Employment Security Commission's Labor Market Information Division, helps separate fact from fiction.

(1.29.14) Latest Jobs Report Shows Signs of Strong Growth for N.C. Economy
RALEIGH — Newly released employment data show signs of growing strength in the North Carolina economy, with the second-highest reported annual increase in new jobs in the state since the onset of the Great Recession. That’s the assessment of John Locke Foundation President John Hood. The N.C. Employment Security Commission’s latest report lists the state’s official unemployment rate at 6.9 percent for December 2013.


(1.09.14) Quest For The National Average Difficult To Justify
Why single out public educators for special treatment over every other class of employee?


(1.06.14) National Average Goal Unique To Education Pay
RALEIGH — Education leaders and some politicians for years have urged that pay for educators in North Carolina be at “the national average,” a goal used for no other employment sector in the state as a metric to gauge the appropriateness of pay.


(8.03.12) Unemployment Rate Rises As Hiring Increases
RALEIGH — In not seasonally adjusted or unadjusted terms, the U.S. unemployment rate rose by 0.2 points, from 8.4 percent to 8.6 percent. The number of employed civilians fell by 76,000 and the number of unemployed rose by 216,000.


(6.15.12) N.C. Experiences 41st Straight Month of 9-Percent Unemployment
RALEIGH — The state’s unemployment rate for May remained unchanged at 9.4 percent, marking the 41st consecutive month the unemployment rate has been 9.0 percent or higher. In seasonally adjusted terms, last month the state lost 16,500 jobs, the highest number in the nation.


(5.18.12) State Unemployment Rate Drops Due to Drop in Labor Force
RALEIGH — North Carolina's unemployment rate in April fell 0.3 percentage points, due in large part to a reduction in the number of residents who were seeking jobs. Though the rate fell, in seasonally adjusted terms, the state lost 1,300 jobs in April — 1,200 of them in the private sector.


(4.20.12) Despite Drop, N.C. Has Nation’s Fifth-Highest Unemployment Rate
RALEIGH — North Carolina’s unemployment rate remains more than 1 percentage point higher than the national rate in both seasonally adjusted (9.7 percent versus 8.2 percent) and not seasonally adjusted (9.6 percent versus 8.4 percent) terms.


(4.02.12) Department of Labor Giving National Job Data Security Review
RALEIGH — Federal officials say they want states to protect employment information while it is protected by an embargo, but they haven’t offered specific guidelines. The government has hired Sandia National Laboratories to review security procedures for federal data.


(3.30.12) N.C. Unemployment Rate Drops, State Adds Jobs
RALEIGH — Even with the monthly improvement, North Carolina’s unemployment rate exceeds the national rate by more than a percentage point. The seasonally adjusted rate is 8.3 percent; the unadjusted rate is 8.7 percent. Only three states have higher unemployment rates (seasonally adjusted) than North Carolina.


(3.27.12) State-Fed Green Jobs Estimates Differ Significantly
RALEIGH — A federal study concluded that North Carolina employment in the production of green goods and services is 77,498, or 2.0 percent of covered employment. The state estimate is 94,452 jobs higher than the federal estimate, representing nearly 2.5 times more jobs.


(3.13.12) Education Job Losses Remain Modest
RALEIGH — Year-to-year unadjusted numbers by the N.C. Department of Commerce and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show a slight drop in government education employment over the past year — but not nearly the levels projected by Gov. Bev Perdue and other Democrats.


(1.24.12) N.C. Unemployment Rate Falls 0.1 Percent in December
RALEIGH — In not seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points, from 9.5 percent in November to 9.8 percent in December. Thirty-two thousand fewer North Carolinians were employed.


(1.11.12) Perdue Staff Appears to Have Violated Signed BLS Agreements
RALEIGH — Members of Gov. Bev Perdue’s administration appear regularly to have violated signed agreements between the state and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics when they shared monthly employment reports that were protected by an embargo, documents obtained by Carolina Journal indicate.


(1.03.12) Congressional Committee Asks Perdue to Produce BLS Records
RALEIGH — The letter from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce stated that Gov. Bev Perdue and the Employment Security Commission may have shared jobs data that was not authorized by a cooperative agreement between North Carolina and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


(1.02.12) BLS: Perdue Violated Agreement On Jobs Data
RALEIGH — It’s unclear whether Perdue’s error not only violated the cooperative agreement the Bureau of Labor Statistics enters with the Division of Employment Services but also broke a federal law protecting the confidentiality of employment data.


(12.19.11) Perdue Media Team Used Confidential Data To Spin Jobs Reports
RALEIGH — Staffers for Gov. Bev Perdue received employment estimates while they were protected by an embargo. They used the information to put a positive spin on monthly jobs reports. The practice appears to violate a federal law protecting the data’s confidentiality.


(11.17.11) Job Reports Have Something for Everyone
RALEIGH — The reports can measure disparate aspects of the labor market, and some groups count jobs differently than others, equating vacant and unfilled positions with layoffs, for example.


(11.09.11) Obama’s $35 Million ‘Veterans’ Initiative Funds Local Transit Call Centers
RALEIGH — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood launched the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative during a Wednesday press conference at the A.A. Thompson Center in downtown Raleigh. The initiative would fund 55 public transit communications systems in 32 states, including North Carolina.


(10.20.11) Obama, The Second-Guesser In Chief
On his bus tour through North Carolina, the president suggested Washington should dictate local school budgets and emergency worker staffing.


(10.17.11) Obama Stumps for Jobs Legislation in Asheville
ASHEVILLE — The president chided Republicans for failing to pass his American Jobs Act in its entirety, saying "Maybe they couldn't understand the whole bill all at once." Congressional Democrats will introduce pieces of the package separately.


(10.14.11) Watch Out for Job Number Jujitsu
The next state unemployment report could force left-leaning political partisans to backtrack on recent outlandish claims.


(10.06.11) CJ Editorial: Fuzzy Job Math From Gov. Perdue
The governor and her liberal allies harbor a basic misunderstanding of the proper role of government and the appropriate size of the public work force.


(10.04.11) ESC Reports Show No Net Loss in Government Jobs Yet
RALEIGH — The monthly numbers reported by the Employment Security Commission showed a “jump” in the unemployment rate: from 10.1 percent in July to 10.4 percent in August. Yet ESC also reported a seasonally adjusted net increase of 13,600 government jobs.


(10.03.11) Obama Plan: Teacher Jobs One Year Only
RALEIGH — The White House does not specify how long the jobs in the president’s plan would be funded. Dividing the funding for North Carolina by the average annual cost of teacher compensation shows that Obama’s jobs bill would fund the positions for no more than one year.


(9.29.11) Politics Vs. Facts In Jobs Debate
The state Department of Public Instruction produced a sloppy, politically motivated report designed to manufacture headlines and mislead the public, rather than provide insight into the complex issue of public sector employment.


(9.15.11) DPI Layoff Reports Neglected Earlier Apocalyptic Predictions
Using Obamaspeak, Republicans created or saved more than 12,000 jobs in North Carolina public schools.


(8.25.11) CJ Editorial: Jobbing the Job Stats
Education employment drops by tens of thousands every summer. The governor and other Democrats and liberals hope you won't figure this out.


(8.19.11) Are Government Jobs Up or Down, and by How Much?
RALEIGH — Each month's employment report is nothing more than a snapshot, often a fuzzy one, of an ever-changing job market.


(8.10.11) Beware Commentators Who Do Not Understand Jobs Reports
It's just as plausible to argue that the budget Gov. Bev Perdue had administered over the past two years led to recent job losses in state and local governments.


(7.29.11) Job Commentators Need A Reality Check
Those who don't understand state unemployment numbers should keep their off-base remarks to themselves.


(7.05.11) Job Plans Abound, But Do Any Work?
RALEIGH — Behind the ideological debate over tactics, there are questions over not only the impact of policies at the federal level versus state-based initiatives, but also the role of government in job creation generally.


(6.13.11) Government Jobs Untouched by the Great Recession
RALEIGH — Public sector employment levels in North Carolina have been stable since the start of the recession in December 2007. It would take a loss of 63,000 government jobs to match the nearly 9 percent net loss that has occurred in the private sector during that time.


(4.27.11) Misleading Counting Method Inflates Rail Jobs
RALEIGH — The Obama administration has refused to defend the concept of ”job-years” publicly. And Gov. Bev Perdue has been a steadfast user of the inflated figure, which measures “job-years” instead of actual jobs.


(7.15.04) NC Job Growth Revised Downward
RALEIGH — Last month, Gov. Mike Easley announced that North Carolina had gained 13,400 new jobs in May. The announcement was a noted departure from standard practice, and Easley took the opportunity to link his policies to the employment gain. But the governor may not be so eager to continue making the announcements. Revised numbers now show the job gain for May was actually 3,300, or 10,100 less than the governor reported. And while the preliminary data for June appear to show a large 35,000 gain, the overwhelming majority were in the government category — and these trends appear to stem from statistical quirks related to year-round schooling.