North Carolina needs economic development policies that create broadly-shared prosperity and good jobs for everyone who needs one.
Despite steady economic growth over the past decade, too many people and too many places across the state are being left behind. Wages are stagnating, and almost all of the state’s job growth since 2009 has occurred in just three metro areas—Charlotte, Raleigh, and Durham—while communities in rural North Carolina still haven’t replaced the jobs they lost in the Great Recession.
Although state investments in schools, bridges, broadband, and other policies that support families are also important, state and local governments can use their economic development programs directly to create good jobs and thriving communities. This involves targeting job creation to places that need the most help and in the industries most likely to grow and pay good wages.
It also requires state and local governments to invest in training the workforce and connecting employers to the people who most need jobs, especially people of color and other historically excluded groups.