North Carolina, like nearly every state, is struggling. That said, the growth is certainly taking place and the economy is moving forward. For example, even in a down year, two of Charlotte's tallest buildings (the Vue and the Duke Energy Center) were built in 2010. The Charlotte metro area is the home to eight different Fortune 500 companies including Bank of America (#9) and Lowes (#48). It has also become the eastern headquarters another banking giant, Wells Fargo.
I lived in California last summer and there is no doubt that cost of living is much, much cheaper in NC. It is also really beautiful (in a different way than Cali, because Cali is super nice) and if you live in Charlotte, you're not more than 2 hours away from the mountains and about 4 hours away from the beach. I love the Charlotte area (that's where I'm from) and I think there are opportunities here.
I hope this helps! Feel free to check out some of my hubs on travel in NC and best wishes in your decision making!