Prosperity Watch (Issue 81, No. 2): 10 Years since the Great Recession, and wage growth is not reaching many North Carolinians

Dec. 11, 2017

It’s been a decade since the Great Recession officially started in December 2007. 

Despite one of the longest economic expansions on record, the country and the nation have experienced growth that has fallen short of historic performance. Many people across the country and many North Carolinians continue to work for wages that fall short of the cost of living or seek jobs where there aren’t enough for everyone.

In the first of our series this month looking at the economy over the past decade since the Great Recession began, analysis of wage growth shows the expansion has not only failed to deliver for the majority of North Carolinians but illuminates bigger problems with the economy. 

Wage growth since 2007 has not grown evenly across the income distribution. The strongest growth has happened for those at the top. This is particularly the case in North Carolina compared to neighboring states, a trend that undercuts the necessary strengthening of the middle-class to sustain economic growth over the long-run. The bottom 30 percent of North Carolinians have actually seen their wages continue to fall despite the economic expansion.  Those North Carolinians in the middle of the income distribution, from the 30th to 70th percentile, have seen just modest growth in their wages in the 2 to 3 percent growth rate range over nearly a decade.  Meanwhile, the top 10 percent in North Carolina have seen their wages grow over this period by 14 percent.

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