RALEIGH — State Treasurer Dale Folwell expressed concern about the employment crisis in the state and across the country due to a shrinking labor pool at a recent media availability.
Folwell cited state and federal workplace lockdowns and COVID response mandates such as enhanced federal unemployment benefits as having an “adverse impact of a shrinking labor pool.”
“Christopher Chung, executive director of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, has cited construction, manufacturing, cybersecurity, health care, tourism and hospitality industries as especially hard hit. Fewer workers mean slower economic growth,” said Folwell.
He gave a personal example of witnessing a major hotel chain near the Charlotte airport that had no one on the premises for over an hour. He also said a superintendent of a local school district had trouble calling his office back because the superintendent was forced to ride along in a school bus due to the unemployment crisis.
“Part of the problem with this employment crisis is we use statistics that don’t always relate to what we are seeing in the real world,” said Folwell during the call. He gave the example of the unemployment rate, which he called “skewed” because it only tracks those who are “able, available and seeking employment.”
“You can’t go down any road or go into any establishment these days that aren’t struggling trying to find workers,” Folwell said. “I think this is a crisis that not only continues to afflict businesses, but also the state government, the school systems, the county and city governments.”
Folwell added that he was seeing anecdotal evidence that in recent weeks more people were showing up to job fairs and were seeking employment.