Costs rising faster than paychecks in NC

Posted March 29, 2012

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— The rate of per capita income growth in North Carolina is among the smallest nationwide, according to a new federal report.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis says that incomes grew at 3.3 percent per capita statewide last year, from $35,007 to $36,164. That compares with a 4.3 percent rate nationwide, from $39,937 to $41,663.

North Carolina's income growth ranked ahead of only Maine and Alaska, according to the report.

The Southeast was the worst region in the country for income growth last year, with six states ranking 40th or lower. Meanwhile, the Plains region had four of the top seven per capita growth states, led by No. 1 North Dakota at 6.7 percent.

Area residents said Thursday that they can feel their wallets getting squeezed as they see gas climbing to $4 a gallon and the cost of everything from food to clothes to utilities on the rise.

"Most food prices are going up. Gas is going up, but your wages, if they're not staying the same, you're only getting a slight increase," construction worker Scott Atkins said. "It's not enough to make a dent in what you need."

The information technology industry posted one of the healthier income growth rates for North Carolina, at 6.5 percent. Other industries that were at or above the national average last year include finance and insurance, real estate, professional services and arts and entertainment.

Money generic, dollars Rising costs, lagging wages squeeze NC wallets

Yvelisse Vieira, whose employer, RBC Bank, was recently acquired by PNC Bank, said her income hasn't gone up.

"I'm getting a pay cut," Vieira said. "Although I'll be doing the same work, they don't pay the same."

Meanwhile, the agricultural industry in the state saw incomes drop by almost 15 percent. Incomes in the construction industry, the military and state and local governments barely budged.

"When it comes to a point when you got to choose between groceries or paying this bill or that, it gets tough," Atkins said.

Construction worker Mark Wilkerson said he went four years without a raise before switching jobs in October.

"We're lucky to have a job because a lot of guys in our line of work don't have a job," Wilkerson said. "There's probably 20 guys waiting in line to take one of our positions right now."


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  • acalvara Mar 30, 2012

    having a job is the new raise.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Mar 30, 2012

    Look at all the junk mail that is sent to you. What a waste of money right there.

  • Disabled Vet Mar 30, 2012

    Obama promised "change"when he got elected and he was right! We got change! The government got all our dollars!

  • Disabled Vet Mar 30, 2012

    Before too long, the southeastern united states will become a third world country! Then we can qualify for foreign aide. I am predicting 2014 at the latest!

  • bluemax4195 Mar 30, 2012

    I'm "quite" sure NO one living and working here in NC is surprised by this headline.

  • lilloan Mar 30, 2012

    I work for a pharmaceutical corporation and for the last 5 years the raise for those receiving an 'exceeds expectations' performance review has been 2.5%. The 'meets expectations' performers (roughly 85% of employees) received a 1.5% raise. The average annualized rate of inflation over the last 10 years, independent of fuel prices, is 2.5%. So, if you're lucky enough to be evaluated as a high performer, you have seen your net income remain flat over the past decade. If you're performance is closer to the population mean, you're making less net income every single year. I can only speak form my experience but I'm more than a little frustrated at seeing our net profit and corporate compensation packages setting records every year when, as a high performing contributor, my income has flatlined.

  • fayncmike Mar 30, 2012

    "With the lowest dollar growth the state still sticks it to us with their high gas tax,"
    The gas tax has not been raised one cent. The tax is adjusted twice yearly predicated of the wholesale gas price.

    "it is becoming impossible to eat well balanced meals"
    Totally untrue. It simply means no more 2" thick steaks and such. inexpensive proteins, fruits and veggies are readily available.

    "families cannot afford medication, and with this wonderful reform insurance covers less and pays less."
    All the more reason to push for Obamacare.

    "My family lives within our means"
    That is highly laudable. other people should follow your fine example.

    "You seem like a smart rational person. Why don't you start your own business or become a CEO?"

    Thank you but I sold out my business internists many years ago. For the last 25 years or so I've just done what internists me. I'll not be holding any sort of job ever again though I do a lot of volunteer work and love taking classes at Fayetteville Tech.

  • barbstillkickin Mar 30, 2012

    Are they really trying to tell us something we have all known for years. Please cost of living raises went out of date in the 1900's so tell us some new news.

  • fayncmike Mar 30, 2012

    What's hard to grasp is they want everyone else to do without but themselves. How about they lead by example. Do you think any of them could live on what we make?

    Does anyone here know how to make the font used about six times larger and boldface?

    IT ISN'T A POLITICAL ISSUE. IT'S A COMMON SENSE ISSUE!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • downtowner Mar 30, 2012

    With the lowest dollar growth the state still sticks it to us with their high gas tax, which most always goes up every six months. Due to the high prices in fuel and energy in general, it is becoming impossible to eat well balanced meals, because of this we will see an increase in obesity in adults as well as children. We will see more sickness and diseases going untreated because families cannot afford medication, and with this wonderful reform insurance covers less and pays less. My family lives within our means, we no longer go on vacations and have not in the last 3 years this year will make 4. The only clothing bought is for my daughter for school and a few pairs of jeans and shirts. There will be a great deal of frugal living in our household for some time to come. Too bad the govt. does not live within their means.

    You seem like a smart rational person. Why don't you start your own business or become a CEO?