EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS: Economy still in the dumps, but local opportunities exist

Sep. 22, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Recently released U.S. Census Bureau data for 2012 paints a bleak economic picture for the state and nation alike. Nearly one in every five North Carolinians lived in poverty last year, and the state's median income, adjusted for inflation, didn't rise from 2011 to 2012. The state has the country's 10th highest poverty rate and 12th highest "deep poverty" rate, which measures the number of families making less than half of the poverty cutoff wage.

Nationally, things aren't much better. Home ownership declined for the fifth straight year, and more people are moving into the lowest-income group as the percent of households earning between $50,000-$99,999 dropped while the percent of households earning less than $25,000 increased. The employment gap — the rate of unemployment for poor people versus rich people — also widened to its largest-ever margin as, The Associated Press reported, "middle-income workers are increasingly pushed into lower-wage jobs. Many of them in turn are displacing lower-skilled, low-income workers, who become unemployed or are forced to work fewer hours."

And as the percentage of families on food stamps also rose to historic highs, the income gap widened to increasingly historic levels — 2012 was the first time in at least the last 100 years the top 10 percent of families earned more than the other 90 percent of Americans combined.

In other news...

* The N.C. Department of Commerce launched a LinkedIn-style website, www.ncworks.gov, in August with the goal of connecting would-be employees with employers across the state. In the first month, 8,000 jobseekers signed up, as did 1,000 businesses. According to the Department of Commerce, "NCWorks offers job seekers advanced job-matching tools that will match their current skills with what is required by employers and allows users to study the labor market trends, including projections for wages and future employment prospects, for the positions they seek."

* The Chatham County Sheriff's Office is looking to hire 22 guards for its new detention center in Pittsboro, which opens in October; hiring will continue through January. No prior experience is required, and the application can be found at www.chathamnc.org, as can applications for all other jobs available in the county government.

* Veterans Outreach of North Carolina will host Veterans Stand Down from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct 12 at the National Guard Armory in Sanford, at 2214 Nash St. The Triangle South Workforce Development Board, headquartered at Central Carolina Community College, and the college’s Veterans Upward Bound and Barbering programs will join with various government and community agencies to provide information and aid, including psychosocial services and health screenings. Bring a V.A. card or DD Form 214 for identification. For more information, contact Leon Jackson at 919-775-2241 or visit www.vocnc.com.

* Business fluctuations: In the past week, four new corporations formed in Lee County — Old Soul's Antiques, Oliver's Properties, Validation and Safety, and Wind Solutions — and none were dissolved or withdrawn.

Have business news? Contact Will Doran at wdoran@sanfordherald.com or (919) 718-1217.