One new measure of economic health for the Tar Heel State is the Index of North Carolina Leading Economic Indicators, developed and published monthly by N.C. State University Economist, Dr. Michael Walden.
In its most recent report, updated for September, the leading indicator index fell 0.8% compared to August. The index was near even (+0.1%) with its level in September 2009.
The index include five components, some of which showed significant volatility during September:
- Economic Cycle Research Institute Weekly Leading Index: +1.0% for 1-month, -4.3% for 1-year
- Statewide Initial Unemployment Claims: -3.6% for 1-month, -30% for 1-year
- Statewide Building Permits: -15.2% for 1-month, -32% for 1-year
- Average Weekly Hours, NC Manufacturing Jobs: +0.2% for 1-month, +3.3% for 1-year
- Average Weekly Earnings, NC Manufacturing Jobs: -2.7% for 1-month, +2.4% for 1-year
Leading indicators are often used to predict economic activity within the upcoming 6 months. While Dr. Walden’s index has shown a downward trend since April 2010, he does not declare this as the on-set of another recession within the state.