Improvements despite high unemployment numbers?

May 30, 2011 1:42:59 PM PDT
A recent report reveals more than half of the state's 100 counties are still over 10 percent when it comes to unemployment, however, most counties are seeing some improvement.The good news is it appears to be getting better as more people have jobs now than they did at this time last year.

Statewide, North Carolina is still looking at 9.7 percent unemployment, while the country is at 9.0.

A look at April's unemployment numbers by metro shows the Durham/Chapel Hill area has the lowest number with 7 percent. Raleigh/Cary is at 7.7 percent and Fayetteville is at 9.1 percent.

To the east, the worst numbers in the ABC11 viewing area is Rocky Mount with 12.5 percent unemployment.

Goldsboro is faring much better at 8.3 percent.

Despite the ups and downs from month-to-month, the bigger picture seems to be the speed of recovery.

Economists say we can consider ourselves recovering, but it is remarkably slow. Many say one of the main reasons for that is the still sagging housing market.

"If you look at previous recoveries from recessions, the housing market is one of those areas that leads us out," NC State Economics Professor Mike Walden said. "People buy more homes, they're more confident; builders build more houses, that puts people back to work. We're not seeing that now, the housing market is still struggling, in fact, housing prices are still very soft and headed down."

Economists also say we should expect a "new normal" in unemployment numbers - not the 4 to 5 percent we saw a few years back, but should see it stabilize at 6 to 7 percent. However, they say it could take a few years to get there.

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