The NC Budget and Tax Center recently released a sobering analysis of recent wage growth in North Carolina. They found that average hourly wages in North Carolina have seen stagnant growth, from $19.26 in 2007 to just $21.88 in 2014. If those wages had grown at a rate of just four percent, which economists typically use as a wage target for solid economic growth, the average North Carolinian would have earned an additional three dollars an hour last year. At 40 hours a week, that would translate to roughly $6,000 more a year.
That extra $6,000 a year would certainly have helped the average North Carolina family. In a recent op-ed in the News & Observer, Think NC First’s executive director Justin Guillory called attention to the middle-class families who are getting left out of the “Carolina Comeback”:
“From 2011 to 2013, income fell by more than $5,000 a year to $41,208. That ranked North Carolina 47th in the nation – behind South Carolina and other neighboring states. And while North Carolina has the 47th-lowest median household income, our families have to deal with the 26th highest cost of living.” – Justin Guillory, Think NC First
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
As Budget and Tax Center director Alexandra Sirota said, “Until earnings growth improves, the strength of the economic recovery remains in question and the share of benefits that are going to workers limited.” But as it currently stands, North Carolina’s economy simply isn’t supporting North Carolina’s families.
Click here to read the Budget and Tax Center’s analysis.
Click here for Justin Guillory’s op-ed.