RALEIGH –The NSCU Index of North Carolina leading economic indicators edged up modestly in July, according to NC State University economist Michael Walden, PhD. The index has now had a steady upward trend for nearly two years.

A 6 percent drop in jobless claims and a double-digit gain in building permits more than offset slight declines in the national index and i n manufacturing hours and earnings.

However, Walden cautioned, the declines in the manufacturing sector may “Signal looming trouble related to the on-going trade disputes.

With a new NAFTA treaty proceeding –a deal with Mexico was announced Monday–and trade negotiations continuing with the European Union, efforts to resolve U.S. trade disputes with China could receive increased attention and possible urgency in their resolution. Walden said.