Art Pope's Glittery New Opinion Manufacturing Machine is in high gear this week, with a slew of propaganda about the so-called Carolina Comeback. Your job is to make sure that not a single person in North Carolina falls for it. Spread the word, and let the facts speak for themselves.
More than 100,000 people dropped out of the state labor force last year, so discouraged in their fruitless search for a job that they gave up looking and are no longer counted when computing the unemployment rate. That’s why the rate has gone down significantly, not because of massive job creation but because people can’t find jobs no matter how hard they look.
That’s not idle speculation from people opposed to the agenda of McCrory and the Republican leaders of the General Assembly. That’s the conclusion from a wide range of economists—scholars associated with universities, major banks and even conservative think tanks.
Wells Fargo Economist Mark Vitner told the News & Observer that the real state unemployment rate is nowhere near 6.9 percent and the recent drop in the rate exaggerates the improvement in the economy.
East Carolina economist James Kleckley said the drop in the rate is an optical illusion and even N.C. State economist Mike Walden, long affiliated with the John Locke Foundation, said the shrinking labor force is the real problem in North Carolina and across the county.
None of that has stopped the folks on the right from popping champagne corks and declaring that the unemployment numbers prove that the tax cuts for the wealthy passed by state lawmakers last summer were the right way to jumpstart the state economy. Even more absurdly, they claim that the decision by Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly to slash unemployment benefits forced laid off workers to go back to work—which can’t be true since fewer jobs were created.
Art Pope has lost Mike Walden as a cheerleader. That's big news all by itself.