A local professor’s measure of North Carolina’s economic health took an unexpected dip in December, but N.C. State University economist Michael Walden says the state’s economic recovery continues unabated.
Walden’s index has been prescient in predicting a stronger recovery in the second half of 2014, and his analysis indicates the state’s economy has stabilized in recent months.
However, in December three of Walden’s five index measures fell – the national economic index, N.C. manufacturing hours and N.C. manufacturing wages.
“Still, there doesn’t appear to be a trend of the state economy significantly decelerating in the months ahead,” Walden wrote in his monthly one-pager. “Hence, the current conclusion is that the state economy will continue to expand in early 2015 at the pace registered in the second half of 2014.”
Walden’s index also shows that two other measures dramatically improved: N.C. jobless claims fell 5.7 percent in December and are down 25.4 percent for the year. Building permits rose 8.7 percent in December and are up 9.6 percent for the year.
In 2014, North Carolina gained 114,500 jobs and the state’s jobless rate fell to 5.5 percent. Walden had predicted the state would break the 100,000-job barrier last year.