One of the most watched economic barometers is something called the gross domestic product — or the value of everything produced in an economy. We now have this measure for all states for 2010. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what it shows for North Carolina.
“First a little background: This is the measure that economists primarily use to gauge when recessions begin and when recessions end. That is to say, if gross domestic product falls for at least six months, we say we’re in a recession. Once it starts going up, we’re out of a recession.
“Well, the latest numbers are actually pretty good for North Carolina. First of all, our gross domestic product rose in 2010 compared to 2009. And the growth rate in our state, North Carolina’s gross domestic product was seventh fastest among all states. Here in the southeast, we were second fastest to the growth in Tennessee.
“However, there is a somewhat negative side to this. One reason for the stronger rebound in gross domestic product for North Carolina is that that same number fell more in North Carolina during the recession.
“But nevertheless this is good news for the state, and it indicates that we’re beginning to come back.
“Now the other piece that needs to fall in place, of course, is to have jobs increase at the same rate.”