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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!

 

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.

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.

Many North Carolinians associate poverty with inner-cities or isolated rural communities, yet the past decade has seen the areas in between–the state’s suburban neighborhoods–experience the biggest jump in the poverty rate.  For more details, see the latest issue of Prosperity Watch.

Last month’s local area unemployment report contained some good news and some bad news for communities across North Carolina.  The good news: unemployment rates have dropped in 91 counties since June of last year, suggesting some improvement in the jobs picture.  The bad news:  most of the long-term job gains since the end of the Great Recession have been concentrated in just a few of North Carolina’s largest metro areas, namely Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro.  Rural North Carolina is being left behind.  See the newest issue of Prosperity Watch for details.