The State of Working North Carolina

The State of Working North Carolina

Significant job loss during the Great Recession has resulted in persistently high unemployment rates and long-term unemployment in communities across the state.  Some regions of the state, like former manufacturing towns and rural communities, have been particularly hard hit because the recent job loss compounds the economic transformation that has only made worse the ongoing loss of jobs. Unemployment, and particularly long-term unemployment, has been associated with a host of negative financial, family and health problems.

The worst possible outcome of long-term and high unemployment is the potential for people to become “discouraged”—to drop out of the labor market completely due to frustration with the lack of job opportunities.  National studies have found that this is happening across the country. North Carolina’s labor force participation declined by almost 2 percent since the formal end of the Great Recession in June 2009. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center, The State of Working North Carolina

The newly released State of Working North Carolina Chartbook reveals how several economic trends over the 2000s resulted in diminished opportunities for the state’s workers. Although the Chartbook does not review how workers are faring at the neighborhood level due to data limitations, it has been well-documented by the Budget and Tax Center that too many North Carolinians are concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods where good education and job opportunities are severely limited. North Carolina needs policies that will strengthen the opportunity structure—especially in disadvantaged areas—in order to build a more inclusive economy that will support workers and the recovery.

As evidenced by high poverty rates and other economic indicators like joblessness and business vacancy rates, some neighborhoods are hurting more than others and the need to rebuild is clear. Disparities in economic opportunity at the neighborhood level have persisted during the decades-long transformation in the state’s economy and have grown since the Great Recession. Some neighborhoods’ economic hardships have been shaped by the isolation from good jobs and expanding industries, commercial disinvestment, and inequitable outcomes rooted in government policies.  Although the underlying causes of disadvantage may vary from community to community, the negative effects of living in an opportunity-deprived area are largely uniform, wide-ranging, and destructive. Read More

NC Budget and Tax Center, The State of Working North Carolina

As shown in the recent report on the State of Working North Carolina, many families and workers across the state lost ground during the 2000s.  During this “lost decade,” workers experienced stagnant or falling wage growth, anemic job growth in the recovery from the 2001 recession, and the catastrophic job losses of the Great Recession of 2007-2009.  And in the three years since the formal end of the Great Recession, North Carolina has struggled to make up this lost ground—unemployment remains persistently high, with at least three workers for every available job opening.

In the face of this challenge, policy makers need to promote solutions that address the immediate crisis in employment and establish long-term path for building a sustainable employment base for the industries of the future.

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NC Budget and Tax Center, The State of Working North Carolina

While now most often thought of as the symbol of summer’s end, Labor Day was established to recognize and remember worker’s contributions to our economy and society.  The latest State of Working North Carolina provides some Labor Day reading to help reflect on the challenges facing workers.  The analysis details trends in the economy and labor market along with policy opportunities for our state to support workers and the economic recovery.  Check it out here.

 

The State of Working North Carolina, Uncategorized

As one political convention ends and another is set to begin, there’s plenty of talk about the American spirit and the value of hard work. But getting lost in that rhetoric is the reality facing many working families in North Carolina this Labor Day.

Data released this week by the NC Budget & Tax Center found fewer jobs at the end of the last decade than at the beginning. The research also points to an acceleration away from high-wage industries like manufacturing and toward low-wage industries like food services. Here’s an excerpt from the BTC:

‘From 2001 to 2011, the state shed almost 380,000 jobs, almost 75 percent of which were concentrated in industries with average wages above the Living Income Standard, a market-based measure of how much a family must earn in order to meet basic expenses. In 2010, the North Carolina Living Income Standard for a family of four was $23.47 an hour.

North Carolina’s job gains during that decade were almost entirely concentrated in low-wage industries. More than 83 percent of the state’s job growth occurred in industries paying average wages below the Living Income Standard.’

NC State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan joins us this weekend on News & Views to talk about the state of work in North Carolina. McMillan weighs in on anti-union rhetoric, as well as the need for collective bargaining and more jobs that pay a living wage. For a preview of her radio interview with Chris Fitzsimon, click below:

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