For black North Carolinians, the Great Recession never ended. From 2009 to 2014, black residents’ incomes plummeted 21 percent in Winston-Salem, 17 percent in Raleigh, and 15 percent in Charlotte and Greensboro.
North Carolinians of other races aren’t faring much better. In 2015, the average North Carolina household earned $400 less than it did in 2009, after adjusting for inflation.
Wages are stagnant or declining because blue-collar North Carolinians face excessive competition from foreign labor. By striking fairer trade deals and lowering immigration, elected leaders could tighten the labor market. Employers would have to boost wages to attract workers.
Many companies have shipped jobs overseas to take advantage of cheaper labor. From 2001 to 2011, America lost 3.2 million jobs to China alone. North Carolina – a former powerhouse in textile manufacturing – has suffered more from outsourcing than any other state, according to the Labor Department.
To add insult to injury, many employers pass over local workers in favor of cheaper immigrant laborers.
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