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At the heart of the American Dream is the idea that hard work is supposed to pay off—that anyone who works a full time job should be able to make ends and achieve upward mobility over the course of their lives. As discussed in the most recent issue of Prosperity Watch, however, seismic shifts in the global economy away from manufacturing and towards services have pushed this dream further and further away from too many of North Carolina’s workers. See the latest Prosperity Watch for details.

Income inequality continues to be a hot issues in our state and national policy debate, as the highest earners continue to pull away from everyone else in terms of overall income growth. As the latest issue of Prosperity Watch lays out, the top 1 percent of earners have seen their income double over the past 25 years, while the bottom 99 percent have seen their incomes remain almost flat. See the latest issue for more details.

Despite all the claims we keep hearing about the state’s supposedly miraculous economic recovery, too many regions across the state are still waiting for the recovery to happen.  The latest issue of Prosperity Watch digs into unemployment and job creation trends in the state’s metro areas and finds that the decrease in unemployment over the last year is almost entirely due to unprecedented drops in the labor force, not to the jobless moving into employment. See the latest issue for details.

In recent months, we’ve been hearing a lot from legislative leaders about how much the state’s economy has “improved” over the past couple years. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that much of this improvement never happened.

As seen in the latest issue of Prosperity Watch, North Carolina still has higher unemployment and lower shares of employed people than the national average–a trend that has remained consistent since 2011 and has actually gotten worse in 2013.  See the latest Prosperity Watch for details.

All too often, we hear the comforting notion that when it comes to economic growth, a “rising tide lifts all boats”–that a growing economy benefits everyone through rising incomes. As the latest issue of Prosperity Watch makes clear, however, the reality of North Carolina’s economic growth has exploded this myth for far too many families in the state. Despite steady growth in Gross State Product–the total value of all the goods and services produced in North Carolina–median household income has actually declined since 2004, suggesting that the rising tide of growth is leaving too many families alone to sink. See the latest issue of Prosperity Watch for details.