North Carolina’s economic indicators are at their highest level since early 2007 as a result of improvements in the manufacturing sector, 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.
All the measures improved in November except building permits, which declined 21 percent. Initial unemployment claims were down 48 percent compared to the same period a year ago while the average weekly hours of work for all manufacturing employees increased 1.5 percent and the average weekly earnings of manufacturing employees in the state rose 1 percent.
“Strong gains were registered in the two manufacturing measures, suggesting this key sector will be moving to a higher level in 2014,” Walden wrote. “Recent increases in the Index are signaling a noticeably stronger economy for the state in the new year.”
The index was .6 percent higher in November than in October and is 8.1 percent above where it was a year ago. Walden’s index hit its low point in the spring of 2009. It has climbed sharply since September.