The 2020/2021 Financial Capacity report recently released by Action Greensboro begins with a lot of good things about living in Greensboro and Guilford County but then details a number of disturbing trends.
The Greensboro City Council talks about the need to attract new good paying jobs to the city, but according to the report Guilford County is far behind most peer counties, the state and the nation in job growth from 2008 to 2018.
During that period Guilford County had 10 percent job growth while the US had 15.2 percent and the state of North Carolina had 17.7 percent. Durham County had 18 percent job growth during the same time period, which pales in comparison to Mecklenburg County which had 33 percent and Wake County that had 33.2 percent. The only peer county listed that had lower job growth than Guilford was Forsyth with 8.5 percent.
In average wages in 2019 Guilford even falls behind Forsyth County. The average wage in Guilford was $49,724 and Forsyth was $52,322, which is slightly below the average for North Carolina at $52,384 but is far below Durham at $71,555, Mecklenburg at $68,421, Wake at $61,425 and even the US at $59,219.
Greensboro and Guilford County depend on property taxes as a primary source of revenue. The amount of revenue from property taxes can be increased by raising the tax rate and/or by increasing the value of the tax base. Development can greatly increase the value of the tax base and here again Guilford County has fallen behind most peer counties in the state in the increase in the value of the tax base.
From 2010 to 2019 Guilford County saw an increase in the value of all the property in the county of 14.4 percent, which was better than Forsyth at 8.2 percent but far below Mecklenburg at 30 percent, Durham at 28.6 percent and Wake at 24.7 percent.
An area in which Guilford County by some measures does lead the pack is in poverty. One measure of that is the number of clients of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). From 2013 to 2019 Guilford County saw an increase of Medicaid and CHIP clients of 43 percent, Wake 40.8 percent, Mecklenburg 31.9 percent, Forsyth 29.4 percent and Durham 22.8 percent.