From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
ASHEVILLE — No, it’s not your imagination.
Your paycheck is not keeping up. Even if you’ve managed to get a raise in the past few years, after the Great Recession, inflation or increases in health care or other costs likely have negated it.
Meanwhile, the gap between the very wealthy and the working class continues to grow, and wages in Western North Carolina lag that of other regions in the state while the cost of living remains higher. All this leaves workers feeling unsettled, to put it politely.
“I think the middle class is starting to disappear,” said Asheville resident Barbara Landwehr, 55, as she waited for a bus this week at the downtown transfer station. “You’re either really rich or really poor. I grew up middle class, but it’s just not there anymore.”