Not recovered yet
The news out of Raleigh wasn’t all bad on Thursday.
According to the Department of Commerce, the state’s unemployment slipped down to 9.4 percent, an 0.1 percent drop from January numbers.
With that came news that most employment sectors across North Carolina have seen positive gains over the last year.
Strong gains in trade, professional and business services as well as manufacturing offset losses in construction and mining and logging to a tune of over 35,000 jobs.
But, in December and January, 21,000 people were added to the unemployment rolls.
Unemployment in North Carolina has teetered between 9.5 and 9.4 percent since September, indicating that things are flat and there have been no new prospects to put a significant number of North Carolinians back to work.
While employment seems a little stagnant, there appears to be no help coming to Rutherford County from a General Assembly who, during the 2012 election, told voters that jobs were the highest priority.
But, the General Assembly has seemed content with levying a list of laws that may do more damage than good.
A primary example is a bill that cuts unemployment insurance benefits in both amount and duration. Considering the vast amount of residents that remain unemployed, those that become unemployed in July thereafter will be rocked by those cuts.
Let’s not forget about other gems such as a bill that brings back payday loans to the state. These are high-interest loans that allow lending companies to prey on families that already may see a significant amount of debt.
Then there is a bill to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit on the state level. This is a tax credit that benefits the poor and working families. This coincides with complete ignorance of a proposal that would tie the minimum wage to inflation — meaning that as the cost of living increases, so would the minimum wage.
So, on the surface, the state’s unemployment is down — which is good news.
However, some legislators out of Raleigh appear to do more damage to those either out of work or supporting families on low income.
And that is bad news.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark.