Election 2012 Issue Brief - The Need for Quality Jobs


North Carolina faces a jobs deficit of more than half a million. The jobs deficit reflects both the number of jobs lost during the Great Recession and the number needed to keep pace with the state’s growing working-age population. Because of the lack of jobs, many North Carolinians are struggling to make ends meet, businesses are struggling to stay open, and North Carolina’s future prosperity is in jeopardy.

The Great Recession resulted in a decline in total state employment of more than 7 percent. And even before the recession, North Carolina was experiencing an economic transformation with in the decline of manufacturing employment and the rise of lower-paying service sector jobs. North Carolina is facing two jobs challenges: the immediate jobs deficit and the need for good, quality jobs.


  • The jobs deficit in North Carolina stands at 528,000 as of March 2012. To close the jobs deficit by 2015, North Carolina would need to create 16,000 jobs each month for three years. In the past three years, the state has failed to reach that threshold in any single month.
  • In the past year, public-sector job losses have held down total employment in the state. Despite modest improvements in the private sector over the year, the continued loss of public-sector jobs has meant that total employment remains low in North Carolina.
  • Projections by the NC Department of Commerce suggest that the fastest-growing occupations in the state will pay below the Living Income Standard, a conservative measure of what it costs to make ends meet for families in North Carolina.
  • Jobs that support a strong middle class in North Carolina will increasingly require some type of post-secondary education. From 2008 to 2018, projections suggest that jobs requiring post-secondary education will grow three times faster than jobs requiring only a high school degree.


Questions for Candidates

  • How will you make sure state leaders focus on the jobs crisis facing North Carolina?
  • What will you do to support North Carolina’s jobless workers until the economy recovers?
  • What will you do to close the jobs deficit and create new jobs?
  • What will you do to ensure new jobs created are good, quality jobs that can sustain families?
  • How will you support the state in increasing the number of individuals who receive post-secondary certificates or degrees?
Research & Publications: