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NC Budget and Tax Center

As North Carolinians are learning the hard way, not all recessions are followed by robust economic recoveries.  For all our concern over the current recovery, however, the years between the 2001 recession and the Great Recession of 2007-2009 also generated historically unprecedented negative economic trends. As the latest issue of Prosperity Watch demonstrates, the nation’s (and state’s) poverty rate failed to drop in the years of the formal recovery following the 2001 recession–the first time since the 1930s that post-recession economic growth proved unable to reduce poverty across the United States.  For more details, see Prosperity Watch.

NC Budget and Tax Center

With unemployment in North Carolina at 9.6%, policy makers are rightfully focused on ensuring that the state’s economy creates more jobs for Tarheel workers. But as this week’s Prosperity Watch demonstrates, the state also needs to focus on creating better jobs, as well, jobs that pay decent wages and allow workers to support their families. Creating these good jobs would reverse the troubling reality of low-wage job creation seen during the 2000s.  As the new issue points out, North Carolina’s economy lost hundreds of thousands of high-wage jobs from 2001 to 2011, and in their place, saw a boom in low-wage employment instead. What caused this shift from high-wage to low-wage work? For more details, see this week’s Prosperity Watch.

NC Budget and Tax Center

For many North Carolina workers, the 2000s were a lost decade. Despite the economic promise of the 1990s boom, incomes, wages, and employment stagnated for 80% (and overwhleming majority) of the state’s residents between 2001 and 2011. At the same time, however, the top 20% of North Carolina’s workers saw a significant increase in their wages, in turn driving wage inequality ever higher. For details on the troubling growth in the state’s wage inequality, see this week’s issue of Prosperity Watch.

Motivated by the trends in wage and income inequality revealed by Prosperity Watch, the Budget & Tax Center is hosting an upcoming gathering with friends to highlight North Carolina’s growing gap between the hghest wage earners and everyone else–and the implications of this gap for the state’s long-term economic health.  Anyone interested in this important issue is welcome to attend the gathering, and enjoy an art exhibit entitled PoorQuality:Inequality, at the Duke University Center for Advanced Hindsight.  For more information and to RSVP click here.  Come join us!

 

NC Budget and Tax Center

Last week’s report that North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased to 9.6 percent last month is just the tip of the iceberg. Not only has the state’s labor market struggled over the past three years to replace all the jobs lost to the Great Recession, the rate of job creation is being outpaced by population growth, driving North Carolina’s jobs deficit higher last month.  See this week’s Prosperity Watch for details.

NC Budget and Tax Center

Contrary to the notions of austerity economics, three years of budget cuts and government layoffs have only served to weaken the nation’s recovery. As seen in the latest issue of Prosperity Watch, new research convincingly demonstrates that government layoffs only lead to greater unemployment in difficult economic times. In short, we can’t reduce unemployment by increasing the number of the unemployed. For more details, see Prosperity Watch.