As the General Assembly gets down to business today, we thought we’d check-in with the number crunchers over at the Department of Commerce to see how things are coming along as it relates to the state’s unemployment picture.
It looks like the Republican supermajority is starting off on the right foot: unemployment is at the lowest level since April 2008. The latest numbers have the state’s unemployment rate at just 5.5% — that’s down from a high of 10.4%, back in January of 2011 when the state’s economy was performing like it had two left feet.
And since January 2011, when voters put Republicans in charge of the state legislature, a quarter of a million new private sector jobs have been created here in North Carolina — 15,000 or so were created in December alone.
Since that time (among other accomplishments), Representative Bell and House Republicans have cut personal and corporate taxes, reduced regulations, trimmed government waste, nearly paid off a $2.8 billion debt owed to the feds and reformed the state’s broken unemployment insurance system by scaling back the amount of time people can receive unemployment benefits (from nearly two whole years) and bringing the check amounts to be in line with that of our neighboring states. (For more on the exciting changes afoot at the Division of Employment Security, click here.)
Categories experiencing the largest increases over the last month were professional services, trade, transportation, utilities, and construction. The only major category experiencing a net decrease over the last year was the state’s government bureaucracy (not that that’s necessarily a bad thing).
“The latest report released today continues to show that North Carolina is headed in the right direction when it comes to creating jobs and rebuilding the economy,” said Governor McCrory in a statement. “While we are seeing more and more positive news on our economy, we must continue making the tough decisions that will move our state forward in a positive direction.”
In other news, Representative Bell was appointed by Speaker of the House Tim Moore today to serve as Chairman of the powerful Regulatory Reform Committee. He will also serve on the Agriculture Committee, the Banking Committee, the Committee on Commerce and Job Development, the Finance Committee, the Committee on Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans Affairs, the Judiciary Committee, and the Public Utilities Committee.
Representative Bell has also been appointed by the Speaker to serve as the new chairman of the North Carolina Sportsmen’s Caucus.