Posts tagged “Mike Walden”
Opinion: We rely on economic statistics to give us an idea of what's occurring, says NCSU economist Mike Walden. But there are lots of economic numbers and measures. What do they mean, and what are they saying about our state's economy today?
Analysis: There are actions North Carolina public leaders can take to improve the long-run competitive position of the state and to gain both jobs and income. These actions revolve around the two broad areas that state government directly controls -- state taxes and state spending.
Analysis:. As 2012 comes to a close, the nation is focused on discussions and debates about the fiscal cliff and efforts to tame the federal government's financial affairs. In this discussion, there have been many terms, concepts, ideas and relationships bandied about, many times not in a very understandable way.
Analysis:. The economy -- and particularly jobs -- was clearly the top issue during the political campaigns. Two big questions now face the office winners. What is the condition of the economy? And what, if anything, can government do to quickly improve the economy?
Analysis:. Let me be the first to say I'm totally flattered when asked for my forecasts. And, like most of my colleagues, I certainly have forecasts and am willing to give them. Yet I always say to take my or any economist's projections not with a grain of salt, but with a ton!
Opinion: "He is the greatest man of our generation," former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt said of William Friday, who died early Friday. His home state owes Friday a huge debt of gratitude.
Analysis: In general, the economy has improved in the last two years, but whether we're back to where we were prior to the recession depends on which indicator is examined. In answering the better-off question, know what is being measured, the time period being covered and why. This will lead to a better you decide.
Analysis: Government spending for Medicare has been jumping off the charts and soon could comprise an unsustainable chunk of the federal budget. Therefore, all plans to slow the growth of government spending and borrowing have to address Medicare. The big question, of course, is how?
Analysis: Behind the scenes there actually is substantial agreement about what's needed in the economy, especially from our public policy makers? Well, the good news is there is agreement in at least six areas (by my count) that span the economic and political divides.
Analysis: There is worry today that the North Carolina economic miracle has waned. Income per person in the state, relative to income per person in the nation, began dropping in the late 1990s and is now in the upper 80 percent range. The state's unemployment rate -- perhaps the most watched economic indicator -- surged during the recession to be one of the highest in the country and has been above 9 percent for more than 40 consecutive months. But a look inside the numbers muddies the waters.
Two new reports present a challenging future for the job market. Still, we shouldn't throw up our hands and conclude nothing can be done. While tactics and perspectives may have to be changed, there are some credible ideas and paths for job creation that are worthy of consideration. But you decide if they should be followed.
Analysis: The skepticism about the reported inflation rate revolves around three questions. Does it include everything we typically buy or are some important products omitted? Does it match everyone's personal experience? And why does it often seem prices are rising faster than what the official inflation rate suggests?
Opinion: More than any other single individual in the second half of 20th century, William Friday has helped shape the transformation of our state from an agricultural and manufacturing economy driven by tobacco, textiles and furniture to a global competitor that fosters and is fueled by innovation in information technology, bioscience and world-class research, as well as the emerging fields of social entrepreneurship and public service.
Analysis: The conclusion from all this number crunching is that personal finances are in much better shape today than they have been in years. Wealth has returned, household debt payments as a percent of disposable income are back to 1990 levels, delinquencies and late payments are down, and homeowners' equity is beginning to rise. Certainly, many households are still not financially secure, but on average they are moving in a positive direction.
Analysis: Prior to the recession, North Carolina had an unemployment rate near 4.5 percent. At the worst point in the recession, the state's jobless rate soared to 11.4 percent, tied for seventh highest in the nation. The big question is, why? There's no easy answer.
Analysis: Taxes will be a top topic of discussion this year for several reasons. First, it's an election year, and no matter what the office and what the issues, taxes are at the head of the debate. Second, there's widespread concern about the national debt, and taxes are one way of dealing with our collective red ink. And last - let's face it - arguing about taxes, for many, is just plain fun!
Opinion: For "Generaztion Z" young people born between 1995-2010, the economy they inherit will be challenging, fast-paced, require energy and include opportunity.
Analysis: Despite a surge, jobs are fewer. How we manufacture things has dramatically changed. Today's factories use much more technology and modern equipment - and fewer workers - than in decades past. This is how our factories can churn out more output with fewer workers.