Sunday, August 21, 2011

Self-inflicted economic wounds in the Tar Heel State

North Carolina's (former) workers are reaping the bitter fruit of the Republican legislature's slashing of government spending. Non-farm employment in North Carolina, which was starting to recover when the Republicans took control of the legislature, has now declined from 3,890,000 jobs in March to 3,868,100 jobs in July, a loss of 21,900 jobs.

In March, there were 435,200 unemployed workers in North Carolina, and the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. In July, the number of unemployed workers was 455,000, and the unemployment rate was 10.1 percent.

The state has performed worse than the rest of the country. While the national job picture has been far from than stellar, the national economy has still managed to add 433,000 jobs since March. Over the same period, employment in North Carolina has fallen.

The state's net job losses were as unnecessary as they were painful because they all came from the elimination of jobs in the public sector. From March to July, North Carolina shed 25,000 state and local government jobs.

The Republicans' policies are inflicting lots of pain in the form of displaced government workers, reduced public services, and more crowded classrooms but are producing no discernible benefits for the general economy. Worse still, the cuts have largely come from the education sector, which will likely lead to North Carolina's children and young adults being less productive and earning lower wages in the future.