State Economy

ALL-IN ECONOMY: Share your story

We all want to see North Carolina create jobs and experience prosperity that is broadly shared by all of our state’s residents—from the mountains to the coast, from our small towns to our major urban centers. But the goal of prosperity that is broadly shared across the state seems farther away than ever . Despite experiencing modest economic growth in the years since the Great Recession, the benefits of that growth just don’t seem to be reaching many of our communities.

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The sluggish and uneven economic recovery has yet to produce significant gains for low- and moderate-income North Carolinians, according to the latest poverty figures from the United States Bureau of the Census.1 The data indicate that the modest improvement in the economy has not been strong enough to reverse the state’s ongoing job shortage, high unemployment rate, or rapid acceleration of low-wage work that fails to provide a pathway to the middle class.2 The result is unshared economic growth and prolonged economic insecurity for millions of North Carolinians.

For more on poverty data click here.

Infographic: Poverty and People in North Carolina

Make the Pledge to Talk About Poverty at this link.

IN FOCUS: The Unemployment Insurance Cliff

On June 30, as a result of legislation that passed in the first two weeks of the legislative session, the federal emergency unemployment compensation (EUC) program will end in North Carolina and with it an estimated 70,000 North Carolinians who are out of work through no fault of their own will lose access to this modest support. An estimated additional 100,000 North Carolinians would not be able to access the federal program that will be available in every other state through the end of the year. in total, an estimated $600 million in federal benefits will be lost to North Carolina’s economy with an estimated economic impact of $1.2 billion.

Read the complete BTC Brief here


For weekly data snapshots on the state of prosperity in North Carolina, visit Prosperity Watch


North Carolina’s economy is not only struggling to rebuild after the Great Recession but also experiencing the effects of a longer-term economic transformation in the industries and jobs that are growing. These broader economic trends and the fiscal decisions made at the state level impact family’s economic hardship and the opportunities available in communities across the state.

Public policy can have a significant impact on North Carolina’s economy. State investments in economic development, workforce development, and job creation can open doors to opportunities for the state’s most struggling communities. However, poorly developed policies can undermine economic growth, exacerbate long-term unemployment, and rob certain groups and geographic areas of economic security.

Poverty, Inequality and the State of Opportunity – 1 in 5 North Carolinians live in poverty and many more struggle to make ends meet. Over time as the economy has grown and transformed so too has inequality and the effects on opportunity for all North Carolinians has been significant in terms of economic mobility and the vibrancy of our middle class. The Budget and Tax Center publishes regular analysis of poverty, inequality and the state of opportunity as well as analyzes proposals that would support North Carolinians struggling today and build greater opportunity for the future.

Economic and Workforce Development – North Carolina’s approach to economic development primarily involves giving millions of dollars in subsidies to already-profitable businesses, and often any new jobs these subsidies create do not benefit economically disadvantaged counties or populations. The Budget and Tax Center publishes analyses of current economic development programs and develops alternative proposals that could create widespread opportunity across the state. This requires as well a strong workforce development system that provides for career pathways in growing industries that pay living wages and it will be increasingly important for North Carolina’s community college system and university to remain affordable and innovative at supporting students young and old into the workforce.

Communities of Opportunity -- Communities across the state are dealing with the significant challenges of population growth, demographic and industry shifts and fewer public dollars to build an infrastructure of opportunity for all. The Budget and Tax Center works to analyze and develop proposals to support equitable development across the state with a particular focus on how transportation, housing and job opportunities are interconnected.

The Labor Market and Economic Growth – The functioning of North Carolina’s labor market is critical to the sound functioning of the state’s economy. The Budget and Tax Center monitors the labor market and other indicators of how the broader economy is faring with an eye to understanding the impact on individual North Carolinians. In addition, the Budget and Tax Center publishes reports on North Carolina’s unemployment insurance system and creates proposals on how North Carolina can better support unemployed workers and increase access to quality jobs.