Michael Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, said looking at the bigger picture the economy might be doing well, but taking a closer look, he said it’s a very uneven recovery with low income earners struggling the most.
According to Walden, the state is in pretty good economic shape, despite the coronavirus pandemic, for two reasons.
"We have had a return of jobs, a lot of the jobs that were lost have come back, and another thing is that the federal government has poured massive amounts of money into state economy,” he explained.
The North Carolina Department of Revenue recently released its monthly gross sales numbers. Apparel sales tax collections are up 64 percent and automotive sales are up 6 percent in August 2020 compared to April 2019. Even jewelry stores have seen an increase with $98.6 million in sales.
"We have been pleasantly surprised. Our stores have been busy, busier than we could have expected,” said Marcy Bailey, the owner of Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.
Bailey said sales have not just gone up since April, but are also up compared to August of 2019 before coronavirus.
"I think the reason you're seeing jewelry sales up is because people are traveling and occasions still need to be celebrated. People want a reason to feel good, and jewelry fits that bill," she added.
NCDOR said every tax sales category is up from August 2020 compared to 2019, except for food.
"A lot of the jobs that are still not back rely on personal contact and personal service jobs, in entertainment, restaurants, so this is a very uneven recovery," said Walden.
He added that it will remain an uneven recovery until we either get a vaccine or we retrain workers to fit a post-coronavirus economy.
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