Up & Coming Weekly

February 23, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 11 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM FEBRUARY 24 - MARCH 2, 2021 UCW 11 N.C.'s members of Congress absent more often than peers by JOHNNY KAMPIS Twelve of 15 members of Congress from North Caroli- na missed more votes in 2020 than the median absences of their peers. In addition, both Tar Heel state U.S. senators outpaced most other senators for missed votes, a government watchdog reports. GovTrack examines various congressional statistics for its annual report cards for Con- gress. That includes how of- ten federal lawmakers show up to work, and North Caroli- na representatives didn't fare well in that category. Historically, the median percentage of missed votes for members of the House is 2.3%, GovTrack reports. All but three North Caroli- na representatives outpaced that percentage in 2020, with Republican George Holding, formerly of the 2nd Dis- trict, topping the state list at 14.5%. He was 20th overall for all members of the House. The next highest four, all Republicans, were Mark Walker, formerly of the 6th District, 13.4%; Dan Bishop, 9th District, 9.7%; Patrick McHenry, 10th District, 8.5%; and Richard Hudson, 8th District, 7.8%. Democrat David Price, 4th District, missed just 0.7% of votes last year, making him one of the House members with the highest record of at- tendance. In the Senate, outgoing Republican Richard Burr missed 12.4% of votes in 2020 — ranking 11th — while Thom Tillis, also a Repub- lican, missed 5.3% of votes (ranking 23rd). The median missed vote percentage for U.S. senators historically is just 1.4%. Lifetime numbers for North Carolina representatives look better compared to 2020. Holding missed 4.1% of votes during his tenure from 2013 to 2020, while Walker missed 5.6% of votes between 2015 and 2020. Both percentages still well outpace the median, however. GovTrack's numbers show it's not uncommon for those members of Congress not seeking re-election to miss more than the median num- ber of votes. Both Holding and Walker declined to run again in 2020, with Walker expressing interest in running for Burr's seat next year. Josh Tauberer, creator of GovTrack, previously told Watchdog that members of Congress also tend to miss more votes in an election year due to campaigning. Those running for presi- dent frequently see their vot- ing records fall off a cliff. NEWS JOHNNY KAMPIS, Carolina Journal News Service. COMMENTS? editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Lafaye e Champion of Freedom and Human Rights www.lafayettesociety.org Lafayette, as quoted by noted abolitionist Thomas Clarkson I would never have drawn my sword cause America I could have conceived there I w founding a l d slavery. Shop Local Visit the many shops located in downtown Fayetteville! North Carolina's heavy-fist- ed response to the coronavi- rus pandemic has resulted in a delayed economic recovery, reports from state and na- tional economists show. Things won't speed up for a while. The latest projections call for relatively high unem- ployment through next year. School closures and busi- ness restrictions led to an "unprecedented drop in eco- nomic activity," says the N.C. Department of Commerce. Now, jobs are still more than 5% below where they were before COVID, total- ing 241,500 "missing jobs," as Wells Fargo economists put it. The majority of these are in places like restaurants, bars, hotels, entertainment, fitness, and hair salons — all industries still suffering un- der emergency restrictions. "While manufacturing ap- pears to have strong momen- tum, high-contact areas of the economy will not recover in a meaningful way until the COVID pandemic recedes," the Wells Fargo economists write. But there is also evidence North Carolina is a distinct case. Net job loss in North Carolina is significantly worse than states such as Georgia, Arizona, South Da- kota, Tennessee, South Caro- lina, and Texas, all of which have gained back a much higher percentage of jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. N.C. manufacturers cut nearly 54,000 jobs during the spring 2020 lockdowns, but only hired back a third of them as the economy began to slowly open up. UNC Charlotte and Barings predict in their latest quarter- ly forecast that North Caro- lina will add about 245,000 jobs in 2021, roughly equal to the number lost last year. Unemployment will remain elevated until 2022. As is often the case, North Carolina's metro areas are likely to bounce back more quickly. The Charlotte region added some 44,000 jobs in the fourth quarter, a 3.5% growth rate that far out- stripped the national average, according to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. Financial services and headquarters office jobs were among the only industries to grow during the pandemic. Still, the Charlotte region had regained just half of the jobs it lost during the first half of 2020 by the end of the year. Mid-sized metros could be in line for more growth, as well, as warehouse and in- dustrial expansion continues. "While the year will start off lethargically, we expect the recovery to gain strength over the course of the year," Wells Fargo economists wrote. Little improvement in N.C. job market until 2022 by ANDREW DUNN ANDREW DUNN, Carolina Journal News Service. COMMENTS? editor@ upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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