Each month N.C. State University economist Mike Walden constructs a leading economic indicator index for North Carolina, and he’s a little bullish on the recently released January index.
“This is an index that tries to tell us where the North Carolina economy is going 4 to 6 months ahead. It’s developed akin to the National Leading Economic Index. It is composed of that national economic index, as well as new jobless claims in our state, building permits, and hours and earnings in manufacturing — all factors that economists think sort of foretell where the economy is moving.
“In December, which is the last report that we have data for an issue, we had a slight drop. But over the last three months, the index has been noticeably higher. So I have to say that when I look at the last part of 2012 and what this index is telling us for 2013, I’m actually modestly bullish on the North Carolina economy.
“I think that this index it is correct. It is signaling a slight pickup in the state’s economy at least through the spring, which again translated into jobs, which most of us are very concerned about, should mean a little better growth in our job numbers.”