N.C. Cooperative Extension economist at NCSU Mike Walden has predicted this week that the Tarheel State will rise from the ashes of the recession in 2010. Ok, maybe he didn’t say it EXACTLY like that, but you get the ideal. Walden says the climb will be slow-going and will be lead by metropolitan areas.
Part of Walden’s job is to release an economic outlook statement for the state every six months. In his latest installment: North Carolina Economic Outlook: Winter 2009, Walden forecasts the end of “The Great Recession” – citing it as the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Among his forecasts:
- Unemployment in NC will peak at just under 11.5% in early 2010 and will gradually improve
- The unemployment rate of 5% in December, 2007 will not be seen for some time
- Jobless rates in NC will slide to 9.8 percent by the end of 2010 and to 8.9 percent at the end of 2011
Manufacturing output, earnings per worker and retail sales (all economic indicators) have ticked upward in recent months, Walden pointed out. The housing market, which has been blamed as the spark for the recession, appears to have bottomed out. Walden sees North Carolina’s economy growing slowly over the next two years and will be hindered by consumer debt unchecked credit card industry.
Consumers entered the recession with what Walden calls “historically high outstanding debt.” He doesn’t think consumers will begin to spend again until they’ve paid off the money they’ve already borrowed. Consumer spending tends to drive the economy.
Economic improvement will be uneven across the state. “Job growth will be strongest in the Charlotte, Triangle and Wilmington regions, and several regions will continue to have unemployment rates above 10 percent at the end of 2011,” Walden writes.
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