The Feb. 21 Point of View “When experiments fail” was a carnival of selective data and misguided reasoning.
The writer started with a partisan conclusion and cherry-picks figures he believes narrowly support it. His back-of-the-envelope assessment of the relationship between unemployment insurance benefit changes and re-employment runs contrary to a more rigorous study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that strongly supports the direction of North Carolina’s reforms. Another equally credible analysis published by the Brookings Institution found only negligible links.
The contention that North Carolina’s ratio of “prime-age employment-to-population” underperforms the nation is particularly deceptive.
A more meaningful measure developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta adjusts for those out of the workforce who are returning to school, raising children, providing eldercare or pursuing other noncareer interests. The Atlanta fed’s “ZPOP” ratio also corrects for part-timers who would prefer full-time positions. This more accurate model shows the growth of North Carolina’s workforce participation nearly mirroring that of the nation.
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The POV suggested the ideal approach to supporting jobless North Carolinians is to borrow money to extend more generous benefit payments. I disagree. The better way to help the unemployed is to connect them with appropriate job opportunities.
Through historic reforms to our tax system and business climate, North Carolina has re-energized job growth, which is outpacing both the Southeast and the nation as a whole. Moreover, through NCWorks, the state now offers customer-focused assistance to job-seekers at 82 career centers around the state.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s job creation strategies, developed in partnership with the General Assembly, are built on policies and programs that maximize all of North Carolina’s economic advantages – our formidable talent base being primary among them.
An honest read of relevant data is the first step in gauging our progress, but that was sadly missing from the shallow assessment offered in your pages.
John E. Skvarla III
Secretary, N.C. Department of Commerce
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the Point of View.