State of Working North Carolina

Having a job is no longer a guarantee of financial security. Increasingly jobs no longer provide the wages, benefits, and opportunities for upward advancement that make it possible for workers to make ends meet. As a result, the ongoing debate about how many jobs have been created in North Carolina over the past year misses the more important question—how many quality jobs have been created?

Quality jobs are jobs that provide clear pathways to prosperity for themselves and their families — in order to support a strong economy. These quality jobs help the broader economy by enabling workers to purchase goods and services at local businesses, build assets in their neighborhood and position their children for future prosperity.

Unfortunately, quality jobs that provide these benefits are on the decline. As these jobs disappear, policy makers are confronted with the central challenge of how to construct supports that provide workers with these benefits they used to receive from their job.

At the heart of this economic transformation lies the intersection of technological development and public policy. Rapid technological change has the potential to transform the very nature of work—how we work, who we work for, and how our work is rewarded—with profound implications for workers’ access to quality jobs. If our experience over the past 30 years is any guide, these implications will largely prove negative for many workers, as automation and new communications technologies place significant downward pressure on labor costs—including wages, benefits, and opportunities for upward career mobility. But if technology is generating pressures to reduce labor costs, public policy plays a crucial role in determining what those pressures mean for workers and their access to quality jobs. 

As a result, this year’s State of Working North Carolina is designed to explore each of these aspects of a quality job in the context of a changing reality of work—why these aspects are necessary, why they are disappearing, and how specific policies can be designed to encourage their growth or provide workers with the benefits they are no longer receiving from their jobs.

State of Working North Carolina 2015

State of Working North Carolina 2014 

State of Working North Carolina 2013

State of Working North Carolina 2012

State of Working North Carolina 2011