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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

north carolina


In 2022, in-migration slowed, and out-migration accelerated, reducing the role of net migration in North Carolina statewide population growth, according to recently released Census data. For the Tarheel state, we document changes in gross and net migration flows between 2021 and 2022, highlight possible drivers, and offer anecdotal evidence as to why the revealed changes may foreshadow a longer- term shift in migration’s role in statewide population change.

COVID-19 exacerbated existing shortages in the labor market, causing business leaders to revise corporate strategies designed to recruit and retain the workforce needed to compete in at the state, national, and global level. We must recognize and support the critical role our community colleges serve in meeting employers’ post-pandemic workforce demands if we are to close the skills gap in the current labor market.

With economic growth can come growing pains, such as an increased cost of living and displacement of local businesses. An NCGrowth report examines how communities with a large manufacturer can minimize those pains.

Recent infrastructure legislation offers an opportunity to focus on how new projects can increase wealth in communities with the greatest needs and minimize harm to the environment, all while supporting the broader economy.

As a destination for both migration and business growth, North Carolina must reassess the capabilities of local entrepreneurial and small-business ecosystems to ensure that its diverse population of aspiring entrepreneurs and small-business owners has equitable access to opportunities.

COVID hit North Carolina hard, with 3.1 million cases so far and over 26,000 deaths. Low-income communities in North Carolina were especially hard hit, with higher rates of COVID infections and deaths, sudden loss of jobs with little buffer, disruption of families and communities. In this paper, we conduct a quantitative assessment of COVID-19’s impact on low-income North Carolinians and specifically on a subset of lower income North Carolina counties that are served by the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA).

Chief Economist Gerald Cohen joined N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders and UNC Associate Professor Erin Fraher, deputy director of the Sheps Center for Health Services Research, on Wednesday for an ncIMPACT Virtual Town Hall with host Anita Brown-Graham. The panelists discussed which sectors have been hit by worker shortages particularly hard and where the talent to fill those positions will come from.

CEOs of the Triangle saw significant raises last year, according to a recent Axios analysis. Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen weighs in on these surging salaries and the gap between managers and company leaders, calling it the “superstar effect.”

Chief Economist Gerald Cohen will be a panelist for an ncIMPACT Virtual Town Hall on workforce shortages in the state that will be livestreamed at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 4 on Facebook Live.

Labor Shortage
Mar 22, 2022

Where are the Workers?

“Every business I enter is looking for employees” was a common refrain in our Carolina Across 100 survey, with 79% of the total survey sample selecting employment/staffing concerns among their top three negative impacts of COVID-19 on their organization. Is the staffing shortage just a function of COVID-19 that will correct itself as COVID abates or are there larger demographic and economic forces at work? The answer is a bit of both.

CREATE, an economic development center at the institute, worked with civic and business leaders in Rocky Mount last summer to plan a Black Business Matters District downtown in an effort to address the racial wealth gap in the area. Executive Director Mark Little will join CREATE’s Rocky Mount partners on a panel at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 24 to share their work as part of Carolina’s Engagement Week.

Total funding in North Carolina hit a record $3.4 billion in 2020 with the potential to hit $4 billion in 2021, along with a 10% increase in the number of companies funded, but it’s often a challenge to get cash cycled into new companies and new investments.