I recently wrote about North Carolina’s disappointing economic trends since 2001. Rising poverty, unemployment consistently above the national average, job and income growth lagging national and regional averages were among the findings.
Now, we can add to that list: less economic freedom.
The Pacific Research Institute recently released their U.S. Economic Freedom Index for 2008. In it, North Carolina is ranked 36th, with 1 being “most free” and 50 being “least free.” Compare this with NC’s ranking in 1999 of 17, and we can see one reason why NC’s economic growth has been sluggish.
The Index is based on 143 indicators, including “tax rates, state spending, occupational licensing, environmental regulations, income redistribution, right-to-work and prevailing-wage laws, and tort reform, to name just a few.”
North Carolina’s drop of 19 slots since 1999 was the second largest drop-off of any state (Texas). This trend does not bode well, and reflects on the “bigger is better” attitude about government acted upon by state leaders.