In all the debate around job creation, an important element is often overlooked: North Carolina doesn’t just need more jobs to support its families, it also needs better jobs, too—jobs with decent wages, health insurance, and a retirement savings or pension plan. As a recent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates, these quality jobs are in short supply across the United States and appear to be getting scarcer, as employers continue to save costs by reducing wages and benefits for their non-executive workers. According to the report, in 2010, almost half of the nation’s workforce had jobs without health insurance, 53% of workers earned wages paying less than $37,000 a year, and 55% had no retirement plan offered through work.
Reinforcing the notion of a “lost decade,” the report finds that the overwhelming majority of the growth in these poor quality jobs came before the onset of the Great Recession in 2007.
In the face of this challenge, North Carolina’s policy makers and economic development officials need to focus not solely on the numbers of jobs created, but on their quality—their wages, benefits, and options for retirement.
For more details, read the report.