While the economy is expected to slow down this year, the outlook for the Triangle is a little better, with economists saying Raleigh continues to outperform the national average in many areas.
“I think the Raleigh metropolitan area has been one of the bright spots — certainly in my district, I think in the national economy,” Tom Barkin, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, told guests Wednesday morning at the annual Raleigh Chamber economic forecast event.
Barkin says people are moving to Raleigh and North Carolina in droves, and that workforce is supporting economic growth in the state.
The strong labor force is giving the Triangle an edge over the rest of the country.
Sarah House, managing director and senior economist for Wells Fargo Corporate & Investment Banking, says, “Overall we continue to see labor force growth stronger than the national picture, and that is consistent with the Raleigh metro area continuing to out perform the national economy.”
Barkin and House were keynote speakers at Launch 24.
Barkin is a renowned economist and has been with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond since 2018. In January he will be a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (the Fed’s chief monetary policy body). He is also responsible for bank supervision, regional engagement and technology organization.
House is an expert in U.S. macro economy, including the labor market, inflation trends and monetary policy, and has been with Wells Fargo since 2010. She is responsible for providing economic analysis and insights to Wells Fargo’s business clients.
Workforce growth is what drove Ryan Starks and his company, Centri Business Consulting, to Raleigh two years ago.
Starks says his outlook for 2024 is optimistic.
“We have been expanding here in the Raleigh market,” Starks said. “We’ve been hiring local colleagues, and our goal and expectations is to be able to do that into ’24.”
House says Wells Fargo is predicting an economic slowdown in 2024, and a mild recession is possible, but Raleigh may not feel the full brunt of that slowdown.
“I think just given how the Triangle area has out performed the U.S., given some of the structural tailwind to the region, I think it’s very likely you’re just looking at slow down rather than a potential outright contraction in activity,” she said.