by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Newly released today from the Center for the Study of Free Enterprise at Western Carolina University:
The Center for the Study of Free Enterprise at Western Carolina University has issued an assessment of economic recovery, sustainability and growth in North Carolina following the pandemic. …
… [T]he study found the state’s prospects for making a sustained economic recovery are sunny, with some qualifications.
“The decisions of today’s policymakers will affect the climate of Covid-19 economic recovery well into the future,” the authors write. “North Carolina’s prospects for sustained recovery are good, underscoring the need to maintain good fiscal health and continue improving economic health in the state.”
The study focused on two main components, the state’s fiscal health and the state’s economic health, as well as the public-private emphasis on a well-trained workforce, modern infrastructure with a strong, competitive tax structure that attracts jobs and investment. …
… The researchers said that when it comes to North Carolina’s goals for growth and prosperity, economic freedom indexes are the most important among all barometers of economic prospects for growth, drawing from both the state level data and, using the most recent studies, the municipal level.
“To promote our state’s leaders’ goals of growth and prosperity, our analysis supports three broad policy conclusions,” Lopez said. “Maintain fiscal discipline, a healthy level of economic freedom, and a good balance of economic freedom in the state.”
The center offers this additional information:
Here in North Carolina, the labor market has only partially bounced back from the shock of the virus, with over a hundred thousand jobs still to make up. State leaders have voiced their renewed commitment to economic growth and prosperity for all Carolinians. According to our newest CSFE Issue Brief, North Carolina’s prospects for sustained Covid-19 economic recovery depend on having a strong combination of top-down and bottom-up forces at work. Policymakers play a central role in maintaining both. Our analysis shows that the state entered the pandemic relatively well-prepared, with a budget in good fiscal condition, and a healthy climate of economic freedom. We conclude with policy implications across three broad recommendations for maintaining strong top-down and bottom-up forces.
The new WCU report cites an October 2020 Civitas study from Locke’s Brian Balfour, “A tale of two recessions: Conservative budgeting has NC far better prepared to weather Covid recession compared to Great Recession.”