Think NC First releases series of four issue briefs on the state of the NC economy

RALEIGH NC—Think NC First today released a series of four issue briefs questioning the claim of a “Carolina Comeback.” While the refrain is often repeated by Gov. McCrory and his supporters, the reality facing most North Carolina families is much different.

According to the briefs’ author, John Quinterno of South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm in Chapel Hill, stagnant wages, falling household incomes, subpar economic growth and a jobs gap make North Carolina’s economic recovery more like a fantasy for many Tar Heel households.

“Proponents of the ‘Carolina Comeback’ are fond of listing impressive-sounding statistics without providing the context needed to compare current conditions to pre-recessionary ones or to gauge whether the recovery is meeting the state’s needs,” said Quinterno. “When that missing context is provided, it becomes clear that the recovery has bypassed most North Carolinians, who on any number of indicators are worse off than when the recession started in 2007.”

The briefs also detail the extent to which the recovery has bypassed most segments of North Carolina’s population, irrespective of race, ethnicity, education, and place. The result is a state increasingly defined by striking economic hardships and widening inequalities.

The series of issue briefs are designed as reference documents for editors, reporters and thought-leaders. Each brief covers a specific topic and uses public statistical data to explore the patterns that have unfolded since 2007, paying attention to differences during the contraction (approx. 2007-09) and expansion phases of the business cycle (approx. 2009-present).

Click below to download the briefs in PDF format:

Issue 1: A Growing State with Too Few Jobs
Issue 2: A Low-Wage, Low-Skill Recovery
Issue 3: Falling Household Incomes
Issue 4: Insufficient GDP Growth 

For questions about the report, interviews and other media requests please contact John Quinterno at or (919) 622-2392.

About John Quinterno
John Quinterno is a principal with South by North Strategies, Ltd., a research firm in Chapel Hill that specializes in economic and social policy. Over the course of his career, Quinterno has written extensively about labor economics, workforce development, regional policy, social insurance, and postsecondary education. He is the author of the book Running the Numbers: A Practical Guide to Regional Economic and Social Analysis (New York: Routledge, 2014), as well as a visiting lecturer at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

About Think NC First
Think North Carolina First (Think) is a policy and message development think tank that serves as a reliable source of evidence-based research for policy makers and thought leaders. It is Think’s mission to produce pragmatic ideas and research accessible to the average North Carolinian that can be used to formulate, debate and implement public policy.