North Carolina has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the country. At 9.2% the TarHeel State's unemployment is almost as bad as New Jersey's 9.6% rate. It is worse than Michigan's 8.9% unemployment. It is worse than Illinois' 8.7% unemployment rate. How did this happen?
When the state's new top government official, Gov. Pat McCrory, stepped up to the podium to address tobacco growers at the Annual Meeting of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina, the jobless rate was the first thing he wanted to address. He started his discussion by talking about how his plans to cut back on the maximum amount of unemployment compensation available in the state. He also noted that there is a "disconnect" between education and commerce" and he wants to better match education to the jobs needed to be performed in the state.
But when it gets right down to it, he wants one thing, mainly.
"I want to get kids jobs," McCrory said. "And that includes jobs in the agricultural community. These are good jobs. They are important jobs for the economy. They are important jobs for our towns throughout North Carolina."
McCrory pressed home the point that he plans to promote the ag industry to be a lifelong profession, like, he noted, it has traditionally been in North Carolina.
"You're going to have a governor saying the ag profession – and I said it in my inauguration speech – is going to be the profession that helps get North Carolina out of this recession."
The governor was obviously aware at the annual meeting what type of farmers were facing him in the audience. They weren't cotton farmers or soybean farmers. They were tobacco farmers. For some of them it must seem like quite a while since they've had a politician of his stature that would show up at a tobacco meeting and support tobacco full tilt boogie.
"And I am going to say that about the tobacco growers," McCrory added. "You are going to lead the way for us. So when I go on international trips, whether it be to India or China or somewhere else across the world, one of the first things I'm going to mention is tobacco exports. It is not going to just be about high tech, those kinds of things. We are going to talk about the exports of tobacco, which will help this state, help your business and help our nation."