In the news…
In small towns like West Jefferson across the country, factories and families had thrived on the back of the housing boom. Now, employers are fighting for survival and laid-off workers are conserving cash.
Local officials still cling confidently to the long-term viability of their manufacturing-dependent economies. But states most reliant on this sector have some of the highest unemployment rates.
For the 12 months ending in December, Labor Department data show North Carolina‘s unemployment rate grew at the second-fastest clip nationwide. The biggest increase was in Rhode Island, another state with a heavy manufacturing base.