= Top southern state

(not available for all indicators)

Labor Market Alignment

Alignment between the skills of college graduates and the needs of North Carolina employers

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North Carolina’s labor market alignment was 82% in the most recently available data, meaning roughly eight-in-ten graduates from state postsecondary institutions had skills and credentials aligned with job openings.


Disconnected Youth

Percentage of North Carolina 16-19-year-olds neither in school or working (indicator shown as distance from 100%)

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Just over one in every fourteen (7.0%) North Carolina 16-19-year-olds was not in school or working in 2019, placing our state 31st among all states for disconnected youth. In Virginia, the southern state with the lowest levels of youth disconnection, this rate was 4.8%.


Labor Force Participation Rate

Percentage of North Carolina residents aged 25-44 participating in the labor force

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More than eight in every ten—83%—of North Carolina adults ages 25-44 were in the labor force in 2019, the 30th highest rate among the states. In Virginia, the southern state with the highest rate, this proportion was 85%.


Family-Sustaining Wage

Percentage of working North Carolina residents aged 35-44 earning a living wage

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Slightly more than half—54%—of North Carolina’s mid-career adults (35-44) had a family income greater than 300% of the federal poverty line in 2019. This proportion was 66% in Virginia, the top-performing southern state. In Texas and Georgia—two southern states with similar costs of living to North Carolina—the share of adults earning a family-sustaining wage was comparable to our state: 55% in Texas and 54% in Georgia.

Key Transition Points

North Carolina County Profiles

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Alamance Alexander Alleghany Anson Ashe Avery Beaufort Bertie Bladen Brunswick Buncombe Burke Cabarrus Caldwell Camden Carteret Caswell Catawba Chatham Cherokee Chowan Clay Cleveland Columbus Craven Cumberland Currituck Dare Davidson Davie Duplin Durham Edgecombe Forsyth Franklin Gaston Gates Graham Granville Greene Guilford Halifax Harnett Haywood Henderson Hertford Hoke Hyde Iredell Jackson Johnston Jones Lee Lenoir Lincoln McDowell Macon Madison Martin Mecklenburg Mitchell Montgomery Moore Nash NewHanover Northampton Onslow Orange Pamlico Pasquotank Pender Perquimans Person Pitt Polk Randolph Richmond Robeson Rockingham Rowan Rutherford Sampson Scotland Stanly Stokes Surry Swain Transylvania Tyrrell Union Vance Wake Warren Washington Watauga Wayne Wilkes Wilson Yadkin Yancey

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