Why does NC have one of the weakest economies in the US? | CLT Blog

Why does NC have one of the weakest economies in the US?

Posted on 1 Nov 2011 by Justin Ruckman

The Carolina Journal’s John Hood, self-admittedly a conservative, proposes the following:

  • North Carolina’s tax burden is somewhat higher than the national average. On the tax rates with the greatest effect on economic performance, North Carolina ranks poorly.
  • There is no comprehensive state-by-state analysis of regulatory costs, but based upon what information is available, it is likely that North Carolina businesses have higher regulatory-compliance costs than their peers in other states.
  • While there are clear deficiencies in our infrastructure that deserve attention, North Carolina does not rank poorly in this regard. According to the most-recent Report Card for America’s Infrastructure published by the American Society of Civil Engineers, North Carolina’s infrastructure gets a C-, compared to a D for the nation as a whole. Our state’s airports, water systems, railroads, and educational facilities are in better shape than those of the average state. Our roads and dams are about average. Our bridges are below average.
  • Although educational attainment and performance are not quite the same thing as workforce preparedness, they are related. North Carolina’s spends less than the national average on K-12 education and more than the national average on higher education. These levels of spending aren’t predictive of outcomes, however. On independent national tests of 8th graders, North Carolina is above average in math proficiency, about average in writing, and below average in reading and science. In higher education, North Carolina is below average in college attainment.
  • Energy prices in North Carolina are about 12 percent below the national average. Labor and land costs are also tend to be lower than average. That’s why cost-of-doing-business surveys often show North Carolina to be competitive, despite higher governmental costs.

Read more at the Carolina Journal Online.


  1. Kim 21 Nov 2011 at 11:17 AM

    As far as education goes, I know that I see a huge difference even between my child that graduated 5 years ago and my children that are in high school now. Teachers are so overworked and have to spend so much of their own money to teach, I feel so many of them have almost given up. I think NC needs to step it up with the amount of money that goes back into the education system. I feel bad for any educators right now — they just can’t get a break!