Why is unemployment still so high?

By Mike Walden There’s good news and bad news about the North Carolina job market. The good news: More jobs have been created in recent years. Since the job market began to turn around in early 2010, both monthly surveys of the labor market in the state show job and employment...

Healthcare hits keep coming

by Brian Balfour In recent days the Affordable Care Act landed a one-two punch against the economy and working families. One of the fundamentals of economics is the lesson that incentives matter. Institutional rewards and punishments for certain behavior will result in people...

Here come the turnaround consultants

by Scott Mooneyham That the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has hired a turnaround consultant to help sort out its Medicaid operations does not say good things about where things currently stand within the state agency. Obviously, where things stand in the...

New data clarify jobless trends

by John Hood Last July, North Carolina became the first state to exit the federal government’s extended-benefits program for unemployment insurance. Six months later, at the start of 2014, extended benefits ceased in the rest of the country. President Obama and some politicians...

Potential third-grade retention crisis looms

By Matt Ellinwood More than half of North Carolina’s third-graders could be held back this year as districts work to implement the state’s new Read to Achieve law. The program’s goal of ensuring that all third-graders can read on grade level before being promoted to fourth grade...

Job seekers are not loafing

by Mike Walden Like most people, my grandparents struggled during the Great Depression of the 1930s. My maternal grandfather lost his life’s savings in a failed bank. Because he was a widower, his extended family wanted to take his children — including my mother — and raise them....

In a bottom-line world, let’s examine the bottom line

by Scott Mooneyham A top executive from a for-profit online education company has been making the rounds lately trying to sell the idea of a virtual charter school to state policymakers. Mary Gifford, who is senior vice president for education policy at K12 Inc., spoke to a study...

Rejecting Medicaid expansion a smart move

by Lee Brett When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, they mandated the expansion of Medicaid in all fifty states. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional, and made provisions for each state to decide for itself. North Carolina rejected...

N.C. got broad tax cut

by John Hood Did Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina legislature raise taxes on poor and middle-income families to give tax breaks to the wealthy? That’s the claim that a motley crew of liberal politicians, journalists, and activists has been trying desperately to peddle...

The Big Mo: Raleigh area’s success story

by Jim Tynen A new survey suggesting the future looks bright for the greater Raleigh area has important lessons for the whole state. Newgeography.org recently published a study of which metro areas have the most economic momentum as 2014 gets under way. The Praxis Strategy Group...

Trying to peer behind the legislative curtain

by Scott Mooneyham Throughout the debate of a sweeping voter ID and elections law bill, Republican supporters said it was an attempt to restore public confidence in the election process. Democrats, at the state and national level, called it a thinly-veiled attempt to suppress...

Lasting impression on DHHS

by Chris Fitzsimon One of the most interesting comments about last week’s announcement that Ricky Diaz was leaving his post as communications director of the scandal-plagued N.C. Department of Health and Human Services came from the department’s embattled leader, Secretary Aldona...