Happy New Year!
Unemployment Rate Rises Across Most of NC in November
81 of North Carolina’s 100 counties saw their unemployment rates increase in November, according to analysis released Thursday by the NC Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security.
43 North Carolina counties still have unemployment rates of 10% or greater going into the end of the year. Overall, the state lost a little more than 22,000 jobs in November.
National December Employment Holds Trend
Wells Fargo Economics Group offered this short and sweet summary in their assessment of December’s national employment numbers, which saw the seasonally-adjusted rate go to 7.8%, consistent with the revised rate for November.
Job gains have averaged 151,000 over the past three months and 153,000 in both 2011 and 2012. Over the past three months, unemployment and participation have averaged 7.8 percent and 63.7 percent, respectively. So, is this it?
Be Prepared for Tax Reform
Based on remarks made by Governor-Elect Pat McCrory during his appearance Wednesday at the 2013 NC Economic Forecast Forum, it appears that significant tax reform is on the agenda for North Carolina’s Governor and General Assembly in the coming months.
The appointment of Art Pope as Deputy Budget Director likely means the Governor-Elect and General Assembly will work within a framework where the State Personal and Corporate Income Tax would be reduced or eliminated in favor of broad, consumption-based taxation. These and other ideas, including eliminating the Franchise Tax, were discussed during the preliminary session of the Forum by a group of financial panelists, including Wells Fargo Economist and Winter 2012 Conference presenter Michael Brown.
The Governor-Elect’s remarks also included discussion of other pertinent issues, including health care exchanges and the State’s unemployment insurance debt.
The Governor-Elect formally takes office this weekend.
Here is a video of McCrory’s complete remarks at the Forum.
Forecasters Little Less Optimistic About 2013 Economy
Wednesday’s 2013 NC Economic Forecast Forum, sponsored by the NC Chamber of Commerce and NC Banker’s Association, included presentations by noted financial analysts and economists on the current and upcoming state of the state, national and global economies. Overall, their assessments were not as “rosy” as those offered this week by NC State University economists Michael Walden.
You can check out video of these presentations below, starting with UNC-Charlotte Economists John Connaughton.
Click on the links below for copies of the presentations made during the Forum.
Richmond Fed’s Lacker offers 2013 Outlook
Jeffrey Lacker, President of the Richmond District of the Federal Reserve and lone opposing vote on recent votes to continue the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing, delivered his outlook for 2013 during the Maryland Bankers Association’s Sixth Annual First Friday Economic Outlook Forum in Baltimore.
Governor-Elect McCrory Announces Cabinet
Prior to the start of the New Year, Governor-Elect Pat McCrory made a few announcements regarding his initial appoints to his Cabinet. Yesterday, he rounded out his leadership team with several additions.
The McCrory leadership team taking over the State next week looks like this (information courtesy NC Metro Mayors Coalition):
NCDOT- Tony Tata (former Wake County school superintendent, retired military)
Commerce- Sharon Decker (former VP, Duke Energy)
Administration- Bill Daughtridge (former State Rep. from Rocky Mount)
Cultural Resources- Susan Kluttz (former Salisbury Mayor)
Public Safety- Kieran Shanahan (Attorney, former Federal Prosecutor)
DHHS- Aldona Wos (Doctor, former Ambassador)
DENR- John Skvarla (Attorney)
Revenue- Lyons Gray (Former Legislator)
Budget director- Art Pope (Former Legislator)
Office of State Personnel- Neil Alexander
Chief of Staff- Thomas Stith (Former Durham Councilmember)
Chief Legal Counsel- Bob Stephens
Communications Director- Chris Walker
The most surprising is perhaps that of Tata to head NCDOT. A military veteran and former DC Schools executive, Tata was hired as Superintendent of Schools for Wake County in 2010, but was fired last year following local elections that saw the political makeup of the School Board change party majorities from Republican to Democrat.
Congress & President Avert Fiscal Cliff Policies, for Now
Tuesday, Congress and the President run in the New Year with a deal that averted implementation of several tax and spending policies known together as the “fiscal cliff.” While the potential for significant tax increases and federal spending cuts would have likely had a profound immediate negative impact on the national economy, the compromise plan that delayed almost all spending cuts in exchange for increases in top marginal tax rates on income and capital gains for households earning more than $450,000 per year did very little to address systemic issues facing the Federal fiscal condition.
Applications being accepted for GFOA Scholarships
Applications are now being accepted for various academic scholarships offered through the Government Finance Officers Association for undergraduate and graduate study in public administration and government finance.
The application deadline for each of the four scholarships being offered is February 22, 2013. Recipients will be announced on April 30, 2013, and invited to be recognized for their awards during the GFOA Annual Conference in San Francisco, June 2nd-5th.