NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Manufacturing and Income Inequality”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at manufacturing and income inequality. Mike, trends which have been observed in recent decades are a decline in factory jobs and a rise in income inequality.  Are the trends related?

 Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. Have seen both trend in the nation and North Carolina
  2. Rising income inequality means the income distance between those at the top and those in the middle and bottom has increased
  3. To answer your question – yes, a recent study did find a correlation
  4. Makes sense – for almost a century, manufacturing jobs, on average, paid above the median salary and were considered solid middle-income jobs
  5. As a result of both technology and globalization, manufacturing jobs have declined – so can certainly make the connection to rising income inequality
  6. And, because manufacturing has always been relatively more important in NC, this also explains why some studies show income inequality rising faster in our state
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service