North Carolina’s workers produce, earn and spend in the state’s economy, and their well-being is requisite for a strong economic recovery. However, as North Carolina policymakers try to set the state on a path of economic growth, they often ignore the primary role workers play in a successful economy. More than 24 months after the official end of the Great Recession, North Carolina’s working families continue to struggle with a lack of job opportunities, staggering loss of earnings and wealth, and the continued transformation of the state’s economy. This transformation—which has coincided with stagnating wages, expanding income inequality and an over-reliance on low-wage industries to generate jobs for the state’s growing working-age population—has been unfolding for decades. Now in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the acceleration of these longer-term trends has reduced the pathways to economic security available to North Carolina’s families.

This 2011 State of Working North Carolina report describes the status of the state’s workers with a particular focus on labor-market conditions, earnings and income and their connection to the sound function of the state’s economy. By providing the latest data on working North Carolinians, this report seeks to inform and explain the context within which policymakers must act to rebuild economic opportunity and shared prosperity in the state.

The full State of Working North Carolina report is attached below.