BTC analyst: ‘Growth and recovery are not the same thing’

Raleigh (April 28, 2016) — State leaders should not lose sight of the fact that many communities across the state are still struggling to erase the damage left by the Great Recession. While parts of the state have long-since surpassed their pre-recession economic peaks, more than half of the counties in the state still have fewer jobs than they did before the financial collapse, now more than eight years ago.

“Growth and recovery are not the same thing,” said Patrick McHugh, Economic Analyst for the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center. “The recession blew everyone off their feet, and while things have certainly improved, a lot of communities are still trying to regain their footing.”

The lack of recovery in many parts of the state shows that simply cutting taxes for wealthy residents and profitable corporations has not worked for a lot of communities. If we want every community in North Carolina to prosper, state government needs to invest more in the foundations of economic growth, such as good schools, efficient infrastructure, and safe communities.

Signs that many communities have not recovered include:

  • Almost three-quarters of our counties have a higher unemployment rate than before the Great Recession. With statewide progress in reducing unemployment stalled, many local communities are getting stuck with a worse employment picture than they had before the recession.
  • More than half of our counties have not gotten back to pre-recession levels of employment. Even after years of economic recovery, 55 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have fewer jobs today than existed before the Great Recession. With many of the new job opportunities clustering in a few parts of the state, many communities are still struggling to get back to where they were almost a decade ago.
  • Lack of recovery is not a purely rural problem. Several cities, including Fayetteville, New Bern, and Rocky Mount still have not recovered to pre-recession levels of employment.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Patrick McHugh,; Mel Umbarger, BTC Senior Communications Specialist,