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by Jordan Green

ECONOMIC RECOVERY GOING NOWHERE ACROSS STATE

New unemployment numbers for April find improvements in the jobs picture in almost all counties across the state, but more than half, including Guilford, still struggle with unemployment rates above 10 percent.

“Weak conditions remained the norm in April,” said economic analyst John Quinterno in a prepared statement. “While conditions in many places have stabilized during 2010, few meaningful improvements have occurred. Most job markets are moving sideways, and there is little to celebrate.”

Unemployment rates normally dip in the spring, Quinterno said, so short term improvements should be interpreted with caution.

The recession has battered rural areas of the state the worst, and Quinterno said North Carolina’s three major metro regions, including the Piedmont Triad, will drive any meaningful recovery.

“Despite some stabilization in labor market conditions, the long-term employment picture remains the same,” Quinterno said. “The sustained job growth needed to absorb displaced individuals and new workers simply isn’t occurring.”

The Winston-Salem and Greensboro-High Point metropolitan statistical areas fell roughly in the middle in April’s unemployment numbers, with the Twin City’s rate registering at 9.4 percent, and Greensboro and High Point’s combined rates landing at 10.7 percent. Durham-Chapel Hill boasted the most favorable unemployment rate, at 7.2 percent, while Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton lands at the bottom, with 13.3 percent of its labor force out of work.

The Employment Security Commission reports that workers in Guilford County received a total of $9.8 million in unemployment insurance benefits in April, while their Forsyth County counterparts received $6.3 million.

TRIAD BUSINESSES TO GET POINTERS ON FEDERAL CONTRACTING

The Greensboro Chamber of Commerce hosts a federal purchasing conference on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center to educate local companies about doing business with the largest buyer in the world, the US government, which awards $500 billion in contracts annually. The deadline to register for the conference has passed. Among the local companies that do business with the federal government is Industries of the Blind in Greensboro, which is under contract with the US Army to manufacture neck pads that protect soldiers from shrapnel.

DOWNTOWN GREENSBORO RESIDENCES TO BE SHOWCASED

Downtown Greensboro Inc. hosts a tour of private residences and homes for sale or lease on Saturday, including downtown’s first LEED Platinum-certified structure, described as “a classic Southern-style home turned into a bed and breakfast,” and three of the center city’s newest multifamily developments, Center Pointe, CityView at Southside and Arbor House condominiums. Lee Mortensen, vice president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. describes the target housing market for downtown in a recent press release as a combination of young professionals, firsttime homebuyers and empty nesters. For baby boomers looking to downsize their homes, Mortensen said downtown offers a perfect balance of “low and no-maintenance landscaping, access to cultural amenities, new work environment options and social networks among residents.” The downtown nonprofit lists the low-end of the price range for rentals at $600, which is still higher than many properties in adjacent neighborhoods such as Westerwood. For information about ticketing, visit www.downtowngreensboro. net/Downtown-Home-Tour.html.

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