The NCSU INDEX OF NORTH CAROLINA LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS (the  “Index”) began 2024 with a slight dip.

The Index dropped 1%, led by a 25% rise in initial jobless claims and a 13% fall in building permits. The national index was off 0.4%, manufacturing hours were unchanged and manufacturing earnings rose 0.3%.

For the last six months, the Index has been  “zigzagging,” with consecutive months often falling and then rising. The take-away is there has been no clear change in direction of the Index, suggesting little change ahead for the North Carolina economy. In other words, the Index is signaling no big boom or big bust to the economy in the months immediately ahead. Some may call this a boring forecast, while others may say this is exactly what we need.

About the Index: The Index is composed of five components: the national leading index from  the Conference Board, North Carolina initial claims for unemployment benefits, North Carolina  building permits, average weekly hours of work of all North Carolina employees in manufacturing, and  average weekly earnings of all North Carolina employees in manufacturing. All data are seasonally adjusted and modified for differences in prices levels where appropriate. Data are from the U.S. Bureau  of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and ECRI, whose permission to use their Weekly Leading  Index is greatly appreciated. All calculations are done by Dr. Michael Walden, and comments can be  sent to