The NCSU Index of North Carolina Leading Economic Indicators (the Index) continued its boring pattern into March, an example of where boring is good.

Using the latest available data for February, the Index showed a tiny 0.1% drop in the Index.

Among the five components of the Index, two contributed to that drop:

  • An almost 20% increase in initial jobless claims
  • A 1.2% drop in manufacturing earnings.

    NCSU INDEX OF NORTH CAROLINA LEADING ECONOMIC INDICATORS , March 2024 (Source: calculations by Dr. Michael Walden)

On the positive side, we saw a 5.4% rise in building permits, a 0.3% increase in manufacturing hours and a slight 0.1% improvement in the US leading index.

Overall, the new report continues a trend begun last May of very little chance in the Index. The message is that over the next four to six months, the North Carolina economy will continue the pace it has established in the last half year. That is, the growth pattern the State has recently experienced will go on in the near future.

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