Outside the Box


GOVERNOR'S BUDGET: The report Gov. Cooper issued contains more dollars and cents

Posted March 10

Cooper unveils his first state spending plan

While the state budget Gov. Roy Cooper presented this month is mostly about dollars and cents, it also includes a host of facts and figures that paint a picture of what North Carolina is today, and what it might be like in the future. Here are some tidbits culled from often overlooked portions of the state budget:

  • North Carolina’s population is growing by an average of 292 people a day – with 190 of those people moving to the state from somewhere else.
  • The share of people older than 65 continues to grow. By July of this year those over 65 will account for 15.7 percent of the population – an increase of 685,000 people since 1997. The number of people older than 65 is expected to grow faster than any other age group.
  • North Carolina’s recovery from the Great Recession hasn’t been easy or quick. It took only TWO years for the recession to cut employment in North Carolina by 8 percent compared to the pre-recession peak in February 2008. However, it took nearly FIVE years (February 2010 to November 2014) for the economy to produce enough jobs to replace those lost during the recession.
  • As of December 2016, the state’s economy had 4.5 percent more jobs than peak pre-recession levels – 18th among the 50 states. Still, that was less than the nation as a whole, which has 4.8 percent more jobs than the pre-recession peak. Three of North Carolina’s four neighboring states – Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina – have experienced more robust employment expansion.
  • Labor markets in many parts of the state still struggle to provide sufficient employment opportunities. Twenty-eight counties have unemployment rates above 6 percent with 13 of those with rates above 7 percent.
  • Corporate profits are expected to gradually slow down during the next two years after seeing near double-digit growth in FY2016-17. Corporate income tax collections, however, are projected to decline 9.8 percent in the next fiscal year, and then increase by just 1.9 percent in the year after -- mostly due to cuts in the state corporate income tax rate and previously enacted and recommended corporate tax changes.

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