06.09.06

Great News: North Carolina’s Economy Is Something to Brag About by Richard Burr

Great News: North Carolina's Economy Is Something to Brag About by Richard Burr

I don't know about you, but I am tired of hearing about how bad things are in the United States today. Sure, I want gas prices to come down. I want food and health care costs reduced. I want lower college tuition rates. What I want is not unlike what you want. But, do not conclude that just because gas prices are high or because tuition rates go up each year that our economy is in bad shape. In fact, North Carolina's strong economy is something to brag about.

Although our nation is at war and gas prices are high, North Carolina's economy is strong. We have experienced job growth in many sectors of industry, such as construction, financial services, tourism, health care, and education. Much of the state's economic success can be attributed to the creation of new jobs and consistently low unemployment rates.

Unemployment rates remain low across the country and especially in North Carolina. For example, in April the state Employment Security Commission reported the overall unemployment level for North Carolina at 4.1%, lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.5%. The last time the unemployment rate in our state was at 4.1% was almost six years ago in August of 2000. Counties in northeastern North Carolina, an area that has experienced significantly high unemployment rates, saw a noteworthy increase in employment levels in the month of April.

New jobs are created daily across the state and country. America has added jobs for 31 straight months, creating 5.1 million new jobs for American workers. In 2005, the North Carolina Department of Commerce reported the state added 53,000 new jobs. In the first four months of 2006, North Carolina has created 12,600 new jobs.

As the country's robust economy continues to thrive, North Carolina workers, small business owners, and innovative business ideas will help ensure continued economic growth across the state. North Carolina has much to offer companies looking to relocate. For example, we are a world leader in higher education. Our community college system is one of the best in the country and our universities conduct innovative research in a variety of disciplines. With a strong education system we can secure a strong economic future for our communities and entice new businesses to call North Carolina home.

The future of North Carolina's economic growth and development is promising. According to the Employment Security Commission, the state is expected to add nearly 700,000 new jobs between 2002 and 2012, a growth rate of 17%. The business, health care, and education industries are expected to have the largest employment increases over the next six years, with health care occupations leading job growth. The skills, training, and education needed to fill these new jobs will vary.

Even though the economy is strong, and the future looks good, there is still much work ahead. We must strive to maintain an economy that allows every North Carolinian who wants a job to find a job. As your United States Senator, I want to continue to work to keep taxes low, reduce government spending, and help more small business owners provide affordable health care benefits for their employees.

As North Carolinians continue to experience economic growth, offer a great education system and maintain a solid public health system, businesses will continue to relocate to our state, and create more jobs for our workers. This will make North Carolina an even better place to live and work.

So, regardless of negative reports in the daily news, the next time you are talking with your friends or co-workers, remember that North Carolinians have something to brag about: a strong economy with a very promising future.

Senator Richard Burr is a U.S. Senator from North Carolina


NOTE: The unemployment numbers used in this op-ed are not seasonally adjusted numbers.