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More jobs, lower wages in N.C.
Low-wage boom in urban centers
 
Published Monday, October 7, 2013 7:25 am
by Stephanie Carson, N.C. News Service

RALEIGH – There are more jobs available in North Carolina's 14 metro areas, according to a report released this week from the NC Division of Employment Security, but the pay for most of those jobs falls $12 below the average state hourly wage.


Tazra Mitchell, a fellow with the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, said job growth in industries that don't keep people out of poverty is not the answer.


“There is a glimmer of hope in the unemployment data, but the bad news is that the majority of all job creation is occurring in industries that don't pay a living wage,” Mitchell said.


A living wage in North Carolina is between $10 and $12 an hour. In the last year, the leisure and hospitality industries were the fastest or second-fastest growing industries across all metro areas, but their average hourly wage is a little more than $8. The growth in low-wage jobs is matched with new census data that showed 18 percent of North Carolinians live in poverty, which is higher than the national average.


Mitchell said reducing the poverty rate and increasing hourly wages go hand in hand.


“These industries are paying ultra-low wages, so this explains the trend that we're seeing in persistently high poverty rates in the state and the prolonged deterioration in income,” she added.


?Census data also found that when figures are adjusted for inflation, North Carolinians are making less now than they were in 2000.

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