Regional economic outlook

Getting up-to-date economic information is sometimes problematic because it takes time for statistics to be collected and processed. There is a report that tries to speed up the process by basing an economic snapshot on interviews with business people. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains what this report says about our economy here in the Southeast.

“This report is called the beige report, just based on the cover of the report. It is put out quarterly by the Federal Reserve. And … it is based on interviews with folks. So we can get perhaps some advanced inkling here what the economy is looking like.

“The latest report we have is for July, and looking at the regional report — which is the southeast U.S., including North Carolina — shows that the economy is modestly improving. The report found that there is more traffic at our ports. It found that bank lending has improved slightly. Tourism — tourism — was much stronger; this was including seasonal effects. The report found that we have had some small modest job gains — a lot of those, temporary jobs.

“But on the downside, probably the biggest negative is the real estate market. The real estate market, to use a term, is still iffy. Although sales seem to have stopped plunging they are certainly not strong.

“And, indeed, this report for our southeast region is very similar to the national report, although on average the southeast seems to be doing somewhat better than the nation.”

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