Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Will Do Exactly What Has Been Done Before

The Civitas Institute has released its report on the legacy of Mike Easley and his term as governor. Excerpted here is just the section on North Carolina's economy. The full report is well worth the read as we can study Mike Easley's "leadership" by the numbers. There is not much optimism in Raleigh for a better performance from Governor Beverly "I will do exactly what has been done before" Perdue.

Grading The Last Eight Years of Leadership in Raleigh: Is North Carolina Better Off?

In several key economic indicators, North Carolina has fallen behind regional and national averages.

Job Growth Trails Southeast Average, Unemployment Consistently Above National Average

  • Job growth from Jan. 2001 to July 2008 in North Carolina was third lowest among Southeastern states1. The growth rate of 8.5 percent trailed well behind Florida (15 percent), Georgia (12.5 percent) and the Southeast regional average of 11 percent.2
  • North Carolina’s annual unemployment rate has exceeded the national average for each of the last seven years, and is on pace to do so again in 2008. By contrast, for the 25 years prior to 2001, North Carolina’s annual unemployment rate was higher than the national average only once.3

Sluggish Income Growth Puts North Carolina Further Behind National

  • Per Capita income growth from 2001 to 2007 in North Carolina was 22.4 percent, less than the national average growth rate of 26.3 percent and second lowest among Southeastern states. As a result, North Carolina’s per capita income dropped from 31st highest to 36th highest in the U.S.4
  • Further, average annual per capita income growth from 2001 to 2007 in North Carolina was 3.4 percent, coming in second lowest in the Southeast, and well below the national average of 4.0 percent. North Carolina’s rate was tied for 4th lowest in the nation.5

Poverty on the Rise - Overtaking Several Other States

  • Overall poverty rates in North Carolina rose from 12.5 percent in 2001 to 15.5 percent in 2007 (latest data available). For sake of comparison, NorthCarolina’s 2001 overall poverty rate was less than 1 percentage point above the national average, by 2007 that discrepancy had more than tripled to 3 percentage points.6
  • The share of North Carolina families classified as living in poverty also climbed. In 2001, the rate of families in poverty was 9.5 percent, tied for the 18th highest rate in the nation. By 2007, North Carolina’s rate of families living in poverty jumped to 5th highest in the nation at 12.6 percent.7
  • The percentage of children living in poverty also increased sharply under the current leadership. In 2001, the child poverty rate in North Carolina was 16.4 percent, placing it tied for 17th highest in the U.S. By 2007, that rate had shot past 11 other states to place North Carolina’s child poverty rate tied for 7th highest in the nation at 21 percent.8