Local unemployment rate increases - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Local unemployment rate increases

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U.S. employers managed to add 155,000 jobs in December despite all the doom and gloom generated by the fiscal cliff.

Most economists called the gains solid, saying they were surprised that employers hired at all during the risky fiscal cliff showdown in Washington.

And there are other signs that the national economy is scooting towards solid ground.

The housing market is recovering. And car sales spiked 13% in 2012. Mercedes Benz says last year was its best ever.

But around here, we can't say the same.

Mecklenburg County's jobless rate rose to 9% in November. That's a .3% increase over October.

And it means Mecklenburg's rate is now equal with the state's - at 9%, significantly higher than the nation's rate of 7.7%

"The recovery here has been weaker than nationally. We've done a worst job of creating jobs than the nation has," says Charlotte-based economist John Connaughton. "And we know that was a centerpiece of the 2012 election nationally. Yet here we still haven't really talked about it. It's like a dirty secret and we're ignoring it."

Connaughton says North Carolina has recovered just 44 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession.

"We've got to get a program where we incentivize creating jobs for companies that are in this state but also we create an environment where companies want to move into this state, and bring jobs with them," he says. "Jobs has to be the focus. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs."

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