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  • Ray Wyche

State Jobless Totals Down, as are Wages

North Carolina’s unemployment rate in September is down 0.1 percent from the previous two months, but wages for North Carolina workers are not keeping up with the nation’s average pay.

The state’s jobless rate for September was 5.8 percent, the same as one year ago, but 107,600 new jobs were created in the last 12 months.

“We’re creating jobs but not enough to get everyone back to work,” said Patrick McHugh, economic analyst for the N.C. Justice Center, a private watchdog group of experts who report on state government activities. The average week’s pay for a North Carolina worker was about $4 less than the national average.

The average between weekly wages in North Carolina and workers in the rest of the nation has grown from about $55 before the recent Great Recession to about $100 in September 2015.

Analysts say one of the reasons for the difference in wages is due in part to the lack of competition in the labor market. With a large number of workers out of jobs, employers see no reason to raise pay rates.

McHugh also noted the lower rate of pay for North Carolina workers is one of the reasons for North Carolina’s trailing other states in workers’ gross pay.

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