RALEIGH – North Carolina’s economy shows slight improvement as 2023 nears, according to the latest Index of North Carolina Leading Economic Indicators. That’s good news, says Dr. Mike Walden, the retired N.S. State economist who authors the monthly report.

“With its downward trend since the Spring, the Index is still forecasting a slowdown in the state economy. But the pullback in the Index has been modest,” Walden says.

“This suggests that any decline in the future North Carolina economy will be modest. If accurate, this could be our real holiday present.”

The index in November made what Walden describes as a “modest gain,” rising 0.3%.

The rise could mean a recession – if as forecast – will not be as large as the two previous ones, he adds.

“[S]ince Spring the Index has shown a definite downward trend, suggesting a slowing of the state’s economy in coming months.  The November numbers don’t reverse this trend, but do show the Index’s downward trajectory much more modest than the Index’s path prior to the last two recessions,” he writes.

“This suggests that if a recession is in our future for 2023, it will be relatively mild.  I count that as good news.”

Year over year the index declined 1.8% but was 0.3% higher in November.

The index tracks unemployment claims, building permits, hours worked and worker earnings. It also includes data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute’s Weekly Leading Index.