We keep hearing how North Carolina’s unemployment rate keeps lagging behind the national average. And although this trend is certainly real—the Tarheel State’s unemployment remains mired above 9 percent while the national average is below 8 percent—the latest issue of Prosperity Watch provides a surprising explanation for North Carolina’s weaker performance. See Prosperity Watch for details.
This week’s issue of Prosperity Watch grapples with an under-reported and historically unprecedented trend in North Carolina’s economy–while the state has experienced a total of more than 4 percent total growth in Gross Domestic Product from 2006 through 2011, job creation over this period has been virtually nonexistant. This trend in manufacturing is even more pronounced.
So what’s causing this troubling divergence between economic output and job creation? See the latest Prosperity Watch for details.
According to the latest issue of Prosperity Watch, North Carolina’s job growth has remained stubbornly stagnant over the last year, with the unemployment rate stuck between 9.6 and 9.4 since February 2012. Even more troubling, however, is the fact that what little employment growth the state has experienced since the end of the recession has largely occurred in low-wage service industries. In effect, the state is losing the middle-wage jobs that used to provide a pathway into the middle class for many North Carolinians and replacing them with jobs in industries that pay significantly below the state average—a boom in low-wage employment. See the latest issue of Prosperity Watch for details.
Earlier this week, the N.C. Division of Employment Security released the latest jobs numbers for January, and unsurprisingly, North Carolina’s labor market is continuing to struggle. As the latest issue of Prosperity Watch makes clear, the state’s employment recovery is still lagging the national average, and despite slowly beginning to close this gap, much work remains to provide adequate employment opportunities for North Carolina’s workers. See the latest Prosperity Watch for details.
As tax filing season rolls around, many North Carolina families and communities across the state will benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), an important tax break designed to reward work and offset federal payroll and income taxes paid by low-wage workers. But as the latest issue of Prosperity Watch explains, some communities rely on this credit more than other communities, since some are more economically distressed than others. As a result, there are significant differences across the state’s counties in terms of the percentage of tax filers in each county that claim this credit, and many of the counties with the highest percentage of filers are clustered in one of the state’s poorest regions. See Prosperity Watch for details.