MEDIA RELEASE: Report: North Carolina wages growing, in defiance of national trends

Wages continued to grow in the TarHeelState during the Great Recession, putting North Carolina ahead of the national curve

RALEIGH (Sep. 3, 2010) – Good economic news for North Carolina in advance of Labor Day Weekend: a new report shows wage growth in the state, bucking a national trend.

Nationwide, workers have experienced a reduction of hours, curtailing of benefits and an erosion of wage growth. The latter trend is the subject of an Economic Policy Institute report, which finds that by all measures wage growth decelerated sharply from the second (2008/2009) to the third year (2009/2010) of the downturn.

For North Carolina’s workers, the story is a bit different. Wages continued to grow over the course of the Great Recession, stalling during the period from 2008 to 2009 and picking back up again from 2009 to 2010.

“We can continue to support wage growth with policies that strengthen the labor market, support working families, and ensure that wages and living standards are closely tied to productivity,” said Sirota. “Job creation efforts should be our top priority of policymakers.”

While North Carolina’s average hourly wage growth has bucked the national trend of decline, those North Carolinians working in today’s tough economy are experiencing additional negative pressures on the paycheck.

Continued high unemployment and recent job growth in low-wage industries suggests the need for job-creation policies that create shared prosperity.

“While we saw growth in our wages during the recession, we also know that prosperity wasn’t widely shared,” Sirota said. “On Labor Day, it is particularly important to consider the positive role that minimum wage standards and collective bargaining can play in ensuring that the wages, wealth and prosperity of a recovered economy are accessible to all working North Carolinians.”

The report is available online at: http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=node/591

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, 919.861.1468, alexandra@ncjustice.org; Jeff Shaw, director of communications, 503.551.3615, jeff@ncjustice.org.

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