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June 01, 2010

Different kinds of trouble

All North Carolina counties have seen their unemployment rates rise during the recession, but even several years after the recession is over there will be many counties that will continue to see elevated unemployment rates. Why is this?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Let me try to explain this by using an analogy with a computer. Most of us use computers, and we know that we can be working on one program, let's say, on a computer but in the background another program can be running.

"Well, that is the same way with the economy. The program that we have been working on right now -- we really have been working on this -- has been the recession. That's the program that has been front and center. We do think the recession is either over or is close to being over. When that happens, though, then we focus on that program that has been running in the background. And here I talk about things like changes in North Carolina economy related to, for example, our traditional industries like the textile and apparel industry declining, other industries rising, etc. The point is we still have big economic issues both affecting the entire country and affecting individual counties. They have been somewhat overshadowed recently by the recession. But once the recession is over and we are back to economic growth, then those other issues come forward.

"So it is not a matter that, if the recession is ending, everything is fine. It is simply that that is one set of problems we can perhaps take off the table. We still have other economic problems that would then come forward."

Posted by deeshore at June 1, 2010 10:14 AM