Elizabeth Nerich – Dip in unemployment rate sparks hope for NC


Anita O’Donnell was unemployed for a year before opening up The Painters Roost

As a new class of soon to be graduates descend onto the job market this month, it appears the question on everyone’s mind is unemployment. The national unemployment rate dropped slightly this April, going from a 7.6 to a 7.5. North Carolina’s unemployment rate in April was higher then the national average at 8.9. The state has seen some improvement however, two months ago in March the unemployment rate for North Carolina was 9.2.


Jeffrey Meyer’s is a manager at a Panera located in Burlington, “I haven’t personally been affected by it,” he said when asked about unemployment. “But I know people who have. My brother’s one of them he’s been unemployed for almost two years. As for the positive or negative outlook I think it’s more of a neutral outlook right now. There are some good things coming out of the economy and there’s a lot of bad things.”

He said that the hiring at Panera has been largely unaffected by the economy thus far, but that that might change soon. “With the effect of Obamacare coming next year we’ll probably see lowering of hours of our employees just to be able to have insurance for them,” he said. “Because of the 33 hour rule.”


Anita O’Donnell carefully paints one of her many pieces of art at The Painters Roost

Anita O’Donnell, owner of The Painters Roost in Burlington had personally been effected by unemployment, losing her job after 22 years in the industry. O’Donnell is an entrepreneur out of necessity, after unsuccessfully trying to work with the unemployment office and being unable to find work she created The Painters Roost.

“When I went to try and work with the unemployment office,” said O’Donnell. “They said I would be a special case, there were like ten of us, and she met with me and asked me those questions and she said, ‘You’re not gonna to find a job. Because you’re going to be over qualified for Wal-Mart or ya know the labor jobs, or anything that would really be hiring, you’re going to be overqualified and people are not gonna hire ya because they know that you’re gonna stay.”

The painters roost holds private and group art classes for all skill levels and encourage painters to bring their favorite beverage with them.