RALEIGH — The NSCU Index of North Carolina leading economic indicator, a forecast of the state economy’s direction four to six months ahead, rose almost 5 percent in October from its level in September,  according to NC State University economist Michael Walden, PhD.

However, the Index is still below its pre-Hurricane Florence level, he cautioned, suggesting the hurricane still had some lingering impacts on the state economy in October.

Indeed, initial claims for unemployment edged up almost 1 percent during the month. The national index also dipped slightly.

But on a positive note, building permits, manufacturing hours, and manufacturing earnings all rose.

“Long-term trends in the state economy are still difficult to discern,” Walden said.

“It may take a month or two for normality to return to the Index, at which time we will be better able to project the economy’s path for early 2019 and discern if the state economy is beginning to slow, as seems to be the case at the national level.”