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Economic Development
May 22, 2018

What is the Real Unemployment Rate?

Sponsored Content provided by Corey Lewis - Founder, Owner and President, Cape Fear Jobs

Hint - What you’re being told is wrong.
 
I launched Cape Fear Jobs in March 2016 because no one was talking about the local job market.
 
Employers across the region were looking everywhere for talent, and job seekers far and wide were desperately seeking gainful employment. Two years later some things never change, except for the fact that now, people are talking about the job market. I believe in informing the employers, job seekers and citizens of this great region with truth. I do not have a political agenda, so when I hear rhetoric at any level about how great the unemployment rate is sparks my passion.
 
Continually published by the state and local government, the unemployment rate is around a mere four percent. Great news! Unemployment is at a multi-year low!
 
Well, is it?
 
Don’t get too excited, because it’s not, at least not here. Numbers from the state are as jaded as the GenX reports we get for our water. The four percent is touted as a victory by local leaders that shout it from the top of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, but that number is simply determined by the number of people who walk through the doors of the rebranded State Employment Office and nothing more.
 
So, what is the real rate? I’m not a big believer in analytics, numbers, rates, etc. I believe in what the people tell me and I believe in what my eyes and ears tell me – what the employers are saying they need and what the job seekers are saying they are looking for. And that number is far more than four percent. It’s more like 20 percent and that, folks, is being conservative.
 
Let’s start by looking at who is not included in the four-percent unemployment rate – groups of people making up over 50 percent of our entire population of the Cape Fear Region:

  • College graduates entering the workforce
  • Retirees moving to the area looking to continue in the workforce
  • Passive job seekers that are employed but looking for a new job or career path
  • Underemployed individuals that may have to work two part-time jobs or a full-time and part-time job to make ends meet
  • Relocating individuals that are advertised the best place to live, work and play only to get here and find out they can’t find a job
  • Trailing spouses, defined as a spouse that is following their significant other to the area for their job and themselves need to find work
Each of these scenarios happen every single day and these people may be your neighbor, co-worker or someone in your own family.
 
How we create jobs is talked about all the time and I’ve written about it here in this forum. There is the option of self-employment, as our region has one of the best entrepreneurial spirits and experience levels when compared to many competing regions.

Cape Fear is truly a great place to work… if you can find a job or start a business. But we have to stop being excited and advertising the jaded unemployment rate that is celebrated each month and quarter.
 
What I would like to see is for the time and energy spent celebrating the four-percent rate (or whatever it may be at time of this article) to be used for something more constructive for the people who are truly looking for work and are sick and tired of not being included as a stat in some analytics.
 
I and my company work very hard to be the voice of those groups of people that I listed above, and it’s time that the rest of my fellow local leaders get on board and start doing the same.

Corey Lewis has more than 20 years of management, business development and project management experience across the retail, construction and staffing verticals. Entering into the recruiting industry in 2007 as an Executive Recruiter, Lewis spent the next seven years honing his recruiting skills and leading a local agency in developing the manufacturing sector of the company. With the support of his wife, Corey started his own boutique firm, Alliance Career Group based in Wilmington, while designing the basis for the company that would come to be known as Cape Fear Jobs. Corey found his passion for helping a struggling jobs economy in the Cape Fear Region and in 2016, Cape Fear Jobs was born. Visit the Cape Fear Jobs website or call (910) 782-2142.

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