Posts tagged “Mike Walden”
The NCSU IIndex of North Carolina leading economic indicators, (the "Index"), a forecast of the economy's direction four to six months ahead, declined by 0.8% in September. This continued a downward trend in the Index, which has dropped in eight of the past twelve months. A similar national decline may be partly responsible.
Taxes are always part of discussions about government and public policy, and taxes were clearly a hot topic in the recent session of the North Carolina General Assembly. Debates occurred about taxing services, lowering income tax rates, implementing incentives for business and energy expenditures, and dividing public revenues between urban and rural counties. Legislation was passed for some of these items, but economist Mike Walden says there will be more discussion and debate in future sessions.
The North Carolina State Index, a forecast of the economy's direction four to six months ahead, declined by a modest 0.4% in August, continuing a downward trend that began in mid-2014. However, the reduction in the Index should be characterized as an "easing" rather than a "tumble", suggesting no near term threat of an recession.
Much of the economic news has been rather gloomy recently. There have been wild swings in the stock market, with multi-hundred point losses on some days. The Chinese economy may be in free-fall, while Europe is dealing with thousands of refugees from the war-torn Middle East. Canada is officially in a recession. And although jobs are being created, more than 10 percent of individuals in the labor force either don't have a job, have given up looking for a job or are working part-time because they can't find full-time work. Does this mean another recession?
Some troubling news about North Carolina's economy made the headlines recently. Numbers for an economic concept called gross domestic product", or GDP, were released for 2014. While North Carolina's GDP increased in 2014, it rose much less than in the nation. The comparison was a 1.4 percent gain for the state versus a 2.2 percent improvement for the nation. Does this mean it's time to worry about the state's economic rebound?
The North Carolina economy rebounded in April, ending a recent skid, according to the North Carolina State University Index of Leading Economic Indicators compiled by NCSU economist Dr. Michael Walden.
Only 11 percent of workers in North Carolina now leave home for the factory. And just 1 percent of workers now say farming is their primary occupation. Does this mean we no longer raise crops and livestock or manufacture products? Absolutely not: Farming and manufacturing are still very important to the North Carolina economy.
Analysis: Given the economic benefits a new auto plant would bring, it seems like courting one for North Carolina is a "no-brainer." So what's the issue? The issue is the "I" word - incentives. In today's competitive economic environment, it is unlikely an auto factory will come to a state without being provided incentives.
Dr. Michael Walden of N.C. State University says a common plot in many popular novels and movies is the "little guy" triumphing over adversity. You decide if this is becoming more of a reality in today's world.
Dr. Michael Walden: Retired people are on the move. They're going to resorts, towns and cities where their children and grandchildren live, or simply to locations with a lower cost of living. And they're not just visiting - they're staying.
It's a tall order to say anything definitive about the economy that far away. So many things can, and will, happen that are on nobody's radar screen. Making predictions for 2040, 2050 or 2060 really are "shots in the dark." There are largely two camps - optimistic and pessimistic. Here's a look from an economist's point of view.
Analysis: I was born in 1951, and most of my current students were born after 1990. I and they have certainly seen our lives altered by new inventions and innovations, especially in information technology and communications. But some say that, while these changes have been significant, their impacts have not been as transforming on daily lives as those brought about by electricity, the automobile and tractor, the telephone and the radio in the 20s and 30s. It's popular to say we live in a fast-paced, highly connected, ever-shifting world. But a strong case can be made for that world actually occurring 90 years ago.
Possible reasons are numerous. However, economists are now thinking that a major reason for slow job growth is a skills mismatch. That is, many workers are unemployed because they don't have the skills and training employers want. There is some thinking that with the development of information technology and digital applications, the skills mismatch may have expanded in recent years.
Analysis: My calendar is already booked solid for presentations about the economic future all around North Carolina. I always open my talks with a well-worn joke - that economists are better at predicting the past than the future. After the laughter subsides, I make the serious point that economic forecasting has a high error rate, especially when the forecasts are for specific numbers like the jobless rate, new jobs created and the change in spending. However, economists are much better at recognizing and predicting general economic trends. So, let me begin with economic trends for 2014. I - and most economists - see several good trends.
N.C. State University economist Michael Walden forecasts improving economic conditions and job growth in the coming months. Read more from the executive summary of his winter economic outlook report.
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?