BlueNC @
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 9:03am

THREE SECRET FACTS FROM THE MONTHLY N.C. EMPLOYMENT REPORT
The N.C. Dept. of Commerce’s Division of Labor & Economic Analysis released the July monthly state employment figures Monday and the word is “up” -- as in higher than June’s. North Carolina’s 6.5 percent unemployment rate is higher than last month’s and still is higher than the national unemployment rate. That’s all stuff that can be found in typical accounts. Here are three facts about employment in North Carolina you won’t find in the usual coverage.

The only major sector experiencing a decrease in jobs over the last month as well as the last year – government. But you don’t need to tell that to folks at the public schools – particularly teacher assistants. Seasonally adjusted figures reveal a drop of 4,900 government jobs – from 710,100 a year ago to 705,200 for July 2014. When looking at stats that ARE NOT seasonally adjusted, the number of government employees in the last month, dropped from 684,300 in June to 608,800 – a 75,500 drop.

Workers are vanishing. While North Carolina’s population continues to grow, workers are disappearing from the labor force. A year ago, North Carolina’s workforce was 4,692,338. In July 2014 that number was 4,674,116. That means 18,222 people who once had jobs, or were looking for work, vanished. Imagine if the entire population of Clayton, Hendersonville, Morrisville, or Boone, just disappeared. One day they were here: contributing to the economy, playing, going to school, raising crops, and then a year later, poof and gone.

Manufacturing workers are taking home less pay. The average weekly hours for manufacturing production workers decreased 1 hour and six minutes in July compared to June – a drop to 43.8 hours. So, while average hourly wages increased a whopping 11 cents, to $16.79 an hour, those workers actually took home $13.65 LESS a week to an average $716.93.

Daily dose
353
BlueNC @
Monday, August 18, 2014 - 8:05am

LISTEN IN
Gerry Cohen, recently retired after more than 30 years as a bill drafter for the N.C. General Assembly, will be live on WUNC 91.5 Monday noon-1 pm (rebroadcast at 8 pm) as Frank Stasio's guest on "The State of Things."
http://wunc.org/programs/state-things

CAMPAIGN 2014
Senate spoilers: 6 states to watch for third-party candidates (THE HILL) -- Spoiler alert: As both Democrats Republicans calculate their odds of a Senate majority, several third party candidates are complicating their math. Popular dissatisfaction with both parties — and bitter campaigns that are driving up candidates’ negatives on both sides — have helped boost third-party candidates in a number of states into the high single digits. Here are six races where third-party candidates could have a real impact on the election. NORTH CAROLINA: The Tar Heel State is similar to last year’s Virginia race — tons of negative advertising and two unpopular candidates, opening the door for a protest vote. Enter Libertarian Party nominee and pizza delivery man Sean Haugh, who despite almost no money has been pulling between 8 and 12 percent in most public and private polls. North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) may be able to pull some of those votes back from Haugh if he can unite a GOP base still somewhat split after the May primary. But Haugh is currently providing a home for some unhappy Republicans and right-leaning independents, making it harder for Tillis to catch up to Hagan, who’s had a lead in most recent polling. “In North Carolina [Haugh] could matter,” admitted one national Republican. “There are a lot of folks that haven't come around, they're still harboring ill will from the Republican primary and maybe haven't come around to Tillis yet. That doesn't mean that they un-persuadable though.”
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/215329-senate-spoilers-...

Daily dose
264
BlueNC @
Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 8:45am

FIVE THINGS TO BE GLAD YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT:

The sour, critical commentaries that are populating the editorial pages this weekend aren’t the only things causing some heartburn around the McCrory camp. In the coming days and weeks there are even bigger concerns looming.. Here are five questions that Gov. Pat McCrory, his brain trust, top DENR officials and his legal/communications team might be, are, or should be, pondering:

News reporters don’t wake up on sunny late spring morning and say to themselves: “We think we’ll toddle on down to the Ethics Commission and check out Ol’ Pat’s latest financial disclosure statement.” Someone, somewhere, made sure the news reporters knew what to look for and where.

Daily dose
478
BlueNC @
Saturday, August 16, 2014 - 10:38am

PHIL BERGER, MILK CARTON MAN? -- A new television advertising blitz Republican backers of Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis is aimed at boosting the lagging images of two of the three top leaders in North Carolina. For the immediate future, it is particularly critical for Tillis who is in a very tight battle with incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, for her seat. The effort to inflate the images of Tillis and McCrory, both Mecklenburg County Republicans, isn’t an easy task. First, they’ve been unable to bring the contentious legislative session, marked by infighting among the GOP leaders at a time when they promised in their campaigns and at the opening of the session church choir-like harmony. The General Assembly appears to be headed to a finish, shuffling out of Raleigh with more a whimper than a bang. Attempts to complete work are marked by failure on addressing the Duke Energy coal ash spill disaster and no action on the promised fix to Medicaid.

Daily dose
764
BlueNC @
Friday, August 15, 2014 - 10:35am

McCRORY ETHICS QUAGMIRE

McCrory: 'We Haven't Broken Any Rules' (WUNC-FM) – Gov. Pat McCrory is responding to charges that he misstated when he sold his stock in Duke Energy. McCrory worked for the company for almost 30 years. Speaking to reporters after an education conference held by the North Carolina Chamber, the Governor faced a series of questions about when he sold the Duke stock that was part of his 401k. "We haven’t broken any rules or ethics violations or anything," McCrory said. "And I was very transparent that I did own it. I was 29 years, and I’m proud of that experience and I had a 401k retirement account, like many of you may have had, or still have.”
http://wunc.org/post/mccrory-we-havent-broken-any-rules

As ethics scandal erupts, Carolina Rising launches $1.5M NC pro-McCrory ad blitz (AP) — A group promoting policies implemented by North Carolina Republicans is running a television ad before most public schools open to praise Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis – GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate -- for education legislation.
http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/carolina-rising-begins...

Daily dose
521
BlueNC @
Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 9:01am

POLICY & POLITICS
LAWYER’S ROLE? McCrory ‘misstated’ Duke holdings, sold stock after coal-ash spill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The governor’s previous disclosures had not revealed that he owned Duke stock at the end of 2013. McCrory’s lawyer, Bob Stephens, says the content of the form was his mistake.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/13/4070158/mccrory-changes-financial...

Conflict of interest statements for NC officials now online (WRAL-TV) -- A new website launched quietly last month by the State Ethics Commission allows users to look up state officials' potential conflicts of interest.
http://www.wral.com/conflict-of-interest-statements-for-nc-officials-now...

NC education budget change worries some districts (AP) — The General Assembly removed a requirement in North Carolina law that said the recipe to build the two-year state budget begins with projected public school enrollment among its first ingredients.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-education-budget-change-worries-so...

Daily dose
432
BlueNC @
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 9:26am

Racial Profiling Trial For Alamance County Sheriff Set To Begin (WUNC-FM) -- A federal case against the Alamance county sheriff accused of illegally targeting Latino drivers is going to trial today. The U.S. Justice Department has accused Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson of illegally targeting Latino drivers as well as arresting and detaining people without probable cause.
http://wunc.org/post/racial-profiling-trial-alamance-county-sheriff-set-...

Daily dose
360
BlueNC @
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 9:32am

CAMAPAIGN 2014
Pollsters: 'Everything is terrible' (Politico) -- Polls from major networks, researchers and newspapers agree: America’s in a bad mood. In just one week, polls found politicians of all stripes are hitting approval numbers with record lows. The president finds himself roughly as popular as a trip to the dentist. The entire Democratic Party gets the thumbs down. Oh, and so does the Republican Party. But it doesn’t stop there. Americans are also bummed out about the future in general, especially the economy. Things are so low that even an old favorite, sugar, polled poorly. Pollsters say it all adds up to a country that feels “everything is terrible,” as one put it, a mood that campaigns should consider as they head into the midterm homestretch, when turnout should be all about enthusiasm — not pessimism.
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/pollsters-everything-is-terrible-1...

Daily dose
418
BlueNC @
Sunday, August 10, 2014 - 8:11am

THE SPILL
Rockingham residents drilling for facts on fracking (Greensboro News & Record) -- Residents along the Dan River overcame a coal ash spill Feb. 2, and now those same people are worrying about another possible threat to their beloved waterway — fracking. Energy companies have announced plans to mine a portion of western Rockingham County for methane gas by using hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in the next year, and officials are moving quickly to make that process a reality.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/rockingham-residents-drilling-for-f...

Daily dose
632
BlueNC @
Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 8:54am

Duke says it spent $20 million on coal ash spill (Greensboro News & Record) -- Duke Energy reported to federal authorities Thursday that it spent $20 million responding to the Dan River coal ash spill in the first five months after the incident. “Duke Energy Carolinas incurred approximately $20 million of repairs and remediation expense related to this incident during the six months ending June 30, 2014,” the utility told the Securities and Exchange Commission in its latest quarterly filing.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/duke-says-it-spent-million-o...

Daily dose
406