Our annual State of Working North Carolina report will be out next week and detail the ways in which the national recovery has yet to reach all North Carolinians and every North Carolina community. In the meantime, a debate playing out on the pages of the News & Observer deserves attention today.
As Labor Day approaches, it is clear that a more careful consideration of the state’s economic well-being is needed instead of declarations of a “Carolina Comeback.”
Let’s be clear: There is nothing partisan about reviewing the data and considering whether the state is experiencing a strong recovery. North Carolinians deserve an accurate accounting of how the economy is doing and where policy choices have fallen short of supporting better outcomes.
There is no debating that the state has seen employment growth, that wages appear finally to be growing, and that productivity (aka GDP) is on the rise. The latter is a fundamental requirement of an economic expansion (at least nationally) and the growth in jobs and wages should follow suit now that we are seven years past the start of the national recovery.
The issue is not whether these things are happening, but whether they have met our expectations for what an expansion should look like. When looking at the numbers relative to our neighbors, our nation and even our past performance, the current national economic recovery is failing to live up to expectations and our state’s great potential.
Here are some key data points that should be front and center when claims of the state’s robust recovery are cited. Read more