A Decade Behind shows that in order for the South to get out of the low-skill low-wage trap, it will need to invest in education and postsecondary training to break the cycle. We provide projections of education and employment containing a state-by-state analysis of 17 southern states through 2020.

Key Findings


Jobs in the South are expected to grow 20 percent from 2010-2020.


59 percent of all jobs in the South will require some form of postsecondary education or training.


66 percent of all jobs in the nation will require some form of postsecondary education or training.


Jobs in the South requiring high school or less were lost in the recession and are not coming back.

Interactive Map

  • Jobs2010
  • Jobs2020
  • Growth Rate%
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Full Report

A Decade Behind: Breaking Out of the Low-Skill Trap in the Southern Economy reviews that the South is caught in a low-skill/low-wage trap. But which came first: low skills or a low wage economy? The South’s current predicament is reminiscent of the old adage about the “chicken or the egg.” So, which came first, and what does it mean for southern states’ economies in the coming decade?

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