Gso Growth and Developmental Trend Report https://t.co/PwxAIBC3YI @greensborocity #GoodforGreensboro #soGso. Poverty down 4 pts. Median income up $1K. Developmental plans at pre-recession levels and much more!!
Posted on Facebook, January 3, 2017 at 3:13 p.m.
by Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughn
I am sure that the last thing you want to be reminded of 5 days before the Presidential inauguration is that this, 2017, is an election year. Quite frankly for the residents of Greensboro it is more important than the 2016 election. Our local city elections are held during "off years" and more often than not appear to go unnoticed by the local electorate. 11.5% of registered Greensboro voters is all that bothered to show up to vote in our municipal election in 2015. No new council members were elected as the 11.5% that showed up were those that for the most part were somehow satisfied with the status quo. Greensboro of course is and always has been a "blue" city. Even though the council positions are deemed to be "non-partisan", everybody knows who is who and are frequently reminded by those who are incumbents so voters that vote "party" instead of results won't screw up the club.
North Carolina's economic numbers improved the past few years though it appeared to me that Greensboro is being left behind, possibly in part to our Mayor and Council's on going pissing contest with the General Assembly. Greensboro has ranked at or near the top of some economic categories that certainly are not indicators of governmental success the past several years. So, when I read our Mayor's Facebook post (above) I interpreted it to mean that maybe Greensboro was actually starting to trend upward despite our Mayor and City Council's best efforts to continue with their failed and historically ineffective progressive philosophy. And unlike virtually everyone that read that post, I decided not to just take the Mayor's word for it and actually read the report for myself. The actual numbers did not support the Mayor's post; at least not if you read the entire report and actually investigated the numbers.
One of the things I like about how this report is written is that it provides comparative numbers for similar size cities in North Carolina. As you may know, lots of comparisons have been made with Durham recently as our council full of social elitists attempt to sell us on the idea that a Greensboro Performing Arts Center will enhance our community as it has Durham's and will be every bit as successful. I have taken the position that Greensboro has far more needs than another elitist play toy and does not have some of the advantages that Durham enjoys that makes their PAC more viable. The numbers in this report bares that out.
Let's start with wages. Those who have money will spend it on some form of entertainment. According to the Developmental and Trend Report (DTR) referenced by the Mayor the average wages in Greensboro are up the past year $1,230 ($44,520 to $45,750). On its' face that would look okay. However, that figure places us last when compared to Durham, Winston-Salem and Raleigh. Further, our average wage according to this same and similar reports on our city website states that our average wage in 1990 was $36, 628. This would appear to be an increase of approximately $9K the past 25 years. Appearances can be deceiving. When factoring in inflation (converting 1990 dollars into 2015 dollars) our wages have fallen off significantly. Using an inflation factoring website (in2013dollars.com) $36,628 in 1990 equates to $66,423 in 2015. By reverse, the celebrated "$1K" increase to $45, 750 in 2015 equates to $25,228 in 1990. An argument can be made that average wages in Greensboro went down more than $10K the past 25 years and probably as much as $20K,
What's that? It's going on everywhere you say? Okay, let's check Durham. In 1990, average wage in Durham was $35,024 which equates to $$63,514 today. This report documents Durham's current average wage as $66,042. In reverse that number equates to $36,418. Durham has virtually kept up in this department. In my opinion there is nothing to celebrate in these figures on average wages in Greensboro.
To put this in a little perspective, Police Officers, Firefighters, Teachers, Emergency Services personnel and the vast majority of city employees make much less on average than what the average wage "should" be.
Unemployment rate is another category that Greensboro has led the state in the past several years. As we know, these numbers have been the subject of suspicion based on the apparent manipulation by progressive governments. The DTR lists Greensboro's unemployment rate as approximately 5.5%. Several of my fellow local bloggers have opined the policies of this council and city government that are not only harmful to businesses staying open but also discouraging new businesses from coming here. This council and city staff seem to rely entirely on retail and continuously concentrate on frills. They are out of touch with citizens that have to and need to work for a living. Of course if you look at the make up of our council, very few of them understand "work". Do I believe that figure of 5.5%?
The DTR lists Greensboro's population at 285,344. School children make up 84,221 of that number; 72,196* in Guilford County Schools, 3,660** in 7 charter schools and 8.365*** in private schools. Approximately 50% of those students live in Greensboro (42,110) with approximately another 16,000**** preschool age children. Subtracting these numbers from the total population there are approximately 227,234 working age adults. The DTR reports that 136,841 Greensboro residents are employed. That leaves 90,393 unemployed citizens; 40% of the population that is NOT working. Is that extra 33% all retired? Disabled? Or are we using the federal government's "voodoo" math to tell us that all is well?
If you do not believe the accuracy of the unemployment rate number (and I don't) then how can we possibly believe the reported drop in poverty percentage when it appears that a large percentage of our population has been conveniently ignored?
Even with these numbers, the DTR is reporting a 10% employment growth in Greensboro between 2010-2015. The DTR reports Durham's employment growth as 27%. While Durham's majority of growth in jobs are reported to be in the fields of technology, health services, professional and scientific services, Greensboro's largest increase was in the field of "other services", described as the fields similar to equipment repair, advocacy and pet services. It is little wonder that Greensboro ranks poorly as a city that people can start a career in.
Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting an African American young woman who is a recent graduate from North Carolina A&T with a four year degree in Economics. She is originally from Minnesota and located here for her last couple of years of high school to establish residency that would help her with tuition. For years this city enjoyed population growth from out of town or state college students who liked Greensboro so much they stayed after graduation. I expressed to this young lady that it has become very unusual the past 20 years for graduates to stay here due to the lack of job opportunities. She politely informed me that she leaves in two weeks because of that very thing.
This has become the norm; high school students leaving town for college no longer return. College students no longer stay. According to the DTR only 36.3% of Greensboro's population is between the ages of 20-44. down almost 5% since 2010. Under the current conditions it will get worse. Forbes refers us to the website wallethub.com where a panel of university employees in the field of job resources ranked the largest 150 cities in the United States as best to worst in ability to start a career in. The results for 2016; Raleigh 6th, Charlotte 22nd, Durham 42nd, Greensboro 83rd, Winston-Salem 87th, Fayetteville 99th.
They are no longer coming, they are no longer staying. The city is becoming older, poorer and there is no changes being considered that will correct either. Yet we believe this city can support frills like a performing arts center when our citizens make $21,000 less a year on average than the city they are trying to emulate; and we haven't even begun to discuss the surrounding areas like Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Cary and all the other supporting areas that make Durham's performing arts center a success.
This city council needs direction and leadership. This citizenry needs to lose its' apathy. Stop letting elitists and social antagonists control our city. Too many of our Greensboro residents are suffering financially and are being taken advantage of socially. Our City Council in general and our Mayor in particular need to stop worrying about who the President is, what the General Assembly is doing and address the business of the City of Greensboro. Stop emphasizing social issues in an effort to divert attention from our poor local economy. Unfortunately, I have no confidence in your ability to do this.
Change in these philosophies or improvement in leadership will not happen unless voters show up in less than 10 months to reconfigure and eliminate the mundane and ineffective make up of this council. Greensboro needs leadership; badly. Stop with the smokescreens and slight of hand and address Greensboro's problems. If you are so void of ideas and unwilling to change your unsuccessful policies and practices ( and your record says that you are) step aside. You are killing this city.
**** this figure is approximated by taking the average of students in each grade and multiplying that number by 5 (for ages 0-4) to estimate the number of preschool children in our population.