The Power of Wage Policies: How raising public sector wages can promote living incomes and boost North Carolina’s economy

By Allan M. Freyer, Alexandra F. Sirota, and Carol Brooke 
Nov. 2015

Municipal and county governments still have opportunities to take positive action to raise wages for workers living in their communities, despite recent state legislation that limits local government authority. One such policy opportunity involves raising the wages of their own public employees, a strategy that can play an important role in combatting wage stagnation and income inequality by increasing the number of jobs that help boost the economy.

Also known as “living-wage” jobs, these economy-boosting jobs allow workers to earn enough to afford the basics—to put food on the table, pay the rent, put gas in the car, and cover childcare expenses. When that happens, workers help boost sales and profits for local businesses and, in turn, the entire economy. Over the past decade, dozens of states and local communities across the nation have recognized that the federal minimum wage simply doesn’t pay enough for families to cover their everyday needs and as a result have acted to establish stronger wage policies.

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