Walden Index shows NC economy starting 2014 on upswing

North Carolina’s economic indicators are at their highest level since early 2007 as a result of a drop in initial jobless claims and rise in building permits, according to a monthly forecast by N.C. State University economist Michael Walden.

Walden’s index of leading economic indicators is designed to forecast the state economy four to six months out. It weighs four North Carolina measures and the national index of leading economic indicators as a single state forecast.

“The Index is also well above its level of a year ago, with initial jobless claims registering the greatest improvement over the year,” Walden wrote. “The Index’s direction suggests North Carolina will begin 2014 on a positive economic note.”

But the state did see a decline in the average weekly hours of manufacturing and average weekly manufacturing earnings.

Walden’s index hit its low point in the spring of 2009. It has climbed sharply since September.