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October 24, 2007

A ranking we may not want

Recently the U.S. Department of Labor released the latest installment of trade adjustment assistance, and North Carolina will receive more money than any other state. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what the money is used for and why North Carolina is getting more than other states. Listen

"This money is used to retrain, relocate and help reemploy workers in the state who have been certified -- it's important they have to be certified -- to have lost their jobs due to international trade," says Dr. Walden, a North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialist. "And I think the fact that North Carolina is getting more of this money than any other state indicates that our state has been adversely affected by the increase in international trade.

"Now there are certainly segments of our state that have greatly benefited, but also there are segments that have been very adversely affected," he says. "And ... this adverse effect is likely going to continue.

"So this money will help some workers and help them, as I said, retrain and possibly get reemployed. Now one issue that is ongoing with this money is that it's generally simply available for what we call blue collar workers -- people who are working in factories: the textile factory, the apparel factory, the furniture factory. It's not available to white collar or office workers. And I think the reason for that is the feeling is that office workers have more options.

"But some are arguing that the money should be opened up to all workers and businesses that have been adversely affected. This is going to be an issue that will be debated in the future."

Posted by deeshore at October 24, 2007 08:00 AM