State of Working NC 2017’ report details how economic & labor trends are hurting Millennials and what that means for N.C.

Raleigh (Sept. 2, 2017) — Just in time for Labor Day, a major new report from the NC Justice Center looks specifically at how entering the workforce during the Great Recession (and its sluggish recovery) has affected Millennials, and what that means for the rest of the state. This year’s report on the state of working in N.C. in 2017 focuses primarily on the generation that entered the job market and came of age roughly starting in the year 2000—the so-called Millennial generation. The report “Work, Interrupted: How the Recession and a Changed Labor Market Will Affect Millennials in North Carolina for Years to Come is a look at the long-term and short-term trends in the economy and policy environment that have shaped their experience.

“The Millennial generation has been affected by a unique combination of long-term and short-term trends in the economy and policy environment,” said Alexandra Sirota, the Director of the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, and one of the authors of the report, “everything from the lack of good jobs, the impact of retreating institutions that provided those jobs, rising healthcare and housing costs, and diminishing opportunities for building assets.

The report takes a generational approach to analyzing data and research on a range of topics that affect working-age Millennials, including the labor market, the slow economic recovery, the retreat from quality jobs, student debt and the generational asset gap, health insurance, and the impact of Millennials on community economic development.

“Compared to their parents and grandparents, Millennials face a dramatically different landscape for finding a job, building a career, and benefitting from workplace protections,” said Allan Freyer, the Director of Workers’ Rights, a project of the NC Justice Center, and one of the authors of the report. “Unlike their predecessors who came of age when the nation’s policy environment and norms of corporate governance promoted relatively broadly shared prosperity, Millennials have entered the workforce at the tail end of a long-term retreat from the institutions that once provided millions of workers with access to good jobs, relative economic stability, opportunities for upward career mobility, and a strong legal framework for protections on the job.”

Among the major themes of the report:

  • The Millennial generation is now the majority of the labor force in North Carolina.
  • Millennials have entered the labor market at a time of technological change and disruption.
  • Changes in many of the institutions and policies that affect the quality of jobs and the access to increasing skills mean the labor market looks very different for this generation.
  • The Millennial generation also includes more people of color than any generation before, which means that longstanding barriers and historical disinvestment in communities of color, for example, tend to magnify the negative consequences of recessions and policy retreats for people in these communities, while minimizing the benefits of better times and better policies.

Download the entire report here at

Need sources? We can connect you with many of the Millennial North Carolinians featured in the “In Your Words” features throughout the report. Please contact Mel Umbarger at to get connected.

For more info, contact: Alexandra F. Sirota, Budget & Tax Center Director, 919-861-1468 or; Mel Umbarger, Budget & Tax Center Senior Communications Specialist,

The NC Justice Center is a nonpartisan organization that works to eliminate poverty in North Carolina by ensuring that every household in the state has access to the resources, services and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security.