As N.C. State University economist Mike Walden enters his third year of producing North Carolina’s monthly leading economic index, he takes a look at what recent trends in the index tell us about the state’s future economy.
“The good news is that the index recently has consistently been higher than the bottom experienced in early 2009, which was really at the bottom of the recession. It has actually been fairly remarkably stable the last six to 12 months.
“We did see the index take a pretty sizable jump in November, but then we actually had a pull-back in December. And in both cases it was the housing market really driving the index. That is, a lot of new building permits came online in November, but then we had a decline in building permits in December.
“I think the message here … is that North Carolina’s economy will continue to edge upward. The index is not flashing any concerns about a new recession. But the pace of improvement is still going to be much lower — much more reserved — than many people would like.”