Driven by improvements if four of five measures in October, N.C. State University’s “Index of North Carolina Leading Economic Indicators” indicates continued recovery from the recession.
NCSU economist , who calculates the Index, says the data forecast continued growth over the next four months.
Indeed, over the past year, the Index has moved in a narrow range, suggesting the state economy will continue its current path of positive, yet modest, growth in coming months,” Walden said in the report that was issued Wednesday. “The building permits component deserves close attention. If permits — and the housing sector — revive, it will portend a more rapid recovery.”
The state’s economy generated an 18 percent – an “exceptionally strong gain,” in Walden’s words – in building permits.
Growth also occurred in hours worked, earnings for workers in manufacturing and a weekly overall calculation from the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI)’s Weekly Leading Index.
The only category not to improve was initial unemployment claims.
North Carolina’s unemployment rate in October was 9.6 percent.
However, the housing market remains troublesome.
“With one exception, residential housing market activity retreated in North Carolina in October,” Walden wrote.” In each of the three regions — Coastal Plains, Piedmont, and Mountain — seasonally adjusted sales fell from September levels, by 21 percent in the Coastal Plains, 16 percent in the Piedmont, and 23 percent in the Mountain region. Sales were off by between 20 and 30 percent from a year ago.
“Prices were also softer in the Piedmont and Mountain regions. From September to October, average price was down 1 percent in the Piedmont and 6 percent in the Mountain market. Average price was also lower in the Mountain region from a year earlier and relatively unchanged in the Piedmont market. However, average price was stronger — by 6 percent — in the Coastal Plains region from September to October, and was also up by 1 percent from a year earlier.”
The data is seasonally adjusted. Calculations are made by Walden.
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