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How are we doing? – State economy stalls

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[Editor’s note: The N.C. Progress Board, a group created by state lawmakers to track trends in North Carolina and set goals for the state, issued its first report in December 2001.

[Each week, the Philanthropy Journal spotlights an issue examined in the report. The goals, targets and analysis below are those of the Progress Board.]

GOAL: North Carolina promotes dynamic, diverse and sustainable economic growth across all regions and demographic groups.

TARGET: North Carolina ranks among the top 10 states in the ratio of net business starts.

By this measure, the state’s short-term economic vitality is beginning to wane. 

In 1997 and 1998, North Carolina’s ratio of business starts to failures was twice as high as the nation’s.

The Index of State Economic Momentum — an average of the most recent one-year growth rates in employment, personal income and population — also shows a decline.

On this index, North Carolina fell from a national ranking of 6th in 1997 to 15th in 1998 and to 22nd in 2000.

MEASURE: U.S. rank in the ratio of net business starts.

From 1998 to 1999, North Carolina’s rank fell from 7th in the U.S. to 11th, according to the N.C. Board of Science and Technology.

TARGET: North Carolina ranks in the top 10 states in the long-term growth rate for jobs.

A consistently high job-growth rate is one reliable indicator of a strong, prosperous economy.

From 1990 to 2000, North Carolina’s employment expanded by 14.7 percent, matching the U.S. growth rate.

The state exceeded the U.S. average in job growth between 1991-92 and 1996-97.

The unemployment rate was consistently below the national average in the 1980s and 90s.

The state’s national rank, however, fell during this period.

MEASURE: National ranking in the long-term growth rate for jobs.

From 1996-97 to 1997-98, North Carolina’s long-term growth rate for jobs fell to 26th from 13th, according to the N.C. Board of Science and Technology.

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