The last ten years of economic growth have done little to boost wages in North Carolina. While the stock market more than doubled in value since January of 2010 when we were just exiting the Great Recession, wages for working North Carolinians have hardly budged. The hourly wage in November of last year was roughly $4.70 higher than at the start of the decade, without considering inflation which wipes out virtually all of that increase. By comparison, $10 million in stock of companies in the Dow Jones Index in 2010 would be worth over $17 million now.
This divide between the performance of stocks and what working North Carolinians see in their paychecks is a fundamental economic problem at the root of so many families’ financial struggles. As far too many working North Carolinians know, pointing to increasing stock prices as evidence of economic health has nothing to do with the reality on the ground.