Economic Update (August 6th Edition)

With the plethora of information out there in recent weeks, including release of new GDP and State and Local Employment Data, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at what’s going on.

Don’t forget to check out the Economic Update presentation from our Summer Conference

State & Local Employment – June 2014

These stats were published early last week and reflect the impact of summer transition for education and other academic year-oriented workers. Prior to the recession, these employment reductions would be offset by increases due to summertime employment, often by high school and college students. While that is still the case in selection locations (often tied to resorts and vacation destinations), much of North Carolina does experience employment decline in June, though the unemployment rate remains relatively unchanged due to a corresponding decrease in the active labor force (they’ll be back in the fall, or have retired).

Take a look at the following charts to see how things are going right now for North Carolina Counties and MSAs:

Jun14NCempMSA

 

Jun14NCcounty12mth

 

Jun14NCcountyYr14As you can see, despite the June adjustment, most North Carolina counties have experienced employment growth since the start of 2014, and the majority are ahead of their counts from last June.

Other Sources

The following notes are pulled from a variety of sources, including multiple Wells Fargo Economics reports. You also might want to take a look at the following reports and updates published this summer by prominent NC economists:

Dr. Michael Walden’s Summer 2014 Economic Outlook

Dr. John Connaughton’s Babson Capital/UNC Charlotte Economic Forecast

GDP/GSP (BEA, Connaughton)

  • National: 2nd Quarter up 4% (year-to-year), real GDP 2.4% (up less than 1% compared to revised 1st Quarter); 1.8% growth in 2013; strong export growth, stable trade deficit
  • Statewide: +2.3% in 2013 (first year outpacing National growth since recession); Manufacturing -0.4%

Employment (BLS & NC Commerce, 8/1/14)

  • National (July): Up 209,000, 12-month average at 214,000 (still below break-even), participation still at 63%; increase in health benefit costs still outpacing total benefits, 50% more growth than wages
  • North Carolina (June): Down 26,700 for month, up 57,000 year-to-year; 2013 +1.8%,-0.2% in Manufacturing; Since 2010, strongest growth in Professional/Business Services, weakest in Manufacturing and Construction; private sector real hourly wages declined 4 of last 5 years

Short-Term Economic Outlook (Leading Economic Indicators, Walden)

  • National: Increased 0.3% in July, up 3% in 2014
  • North Carolina: No change for July, up 4.5% year-to-year; unemployment claims down 50%, permits down 13%, employee hours up 5.6%, earnings up 3.5%

Business & Consumer Confidence (Multiple Sources)

  • Small Business Optimism improving, but still below growth point; hiring plans improving; most concerned about impact of regulations
  • Consumer confidence improving, up for July but still below pre-recession levels
  • Spending growth still outpacing income

Retail Sales (Census & NC Department of Revenue)

  • National: +4.3% year-to-year, driven by vehicle sales; +3.6% for 2014
  • North Carolina: Up 3% for 2014

Loan Demand (Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey)

  • Home loan demand back up to summer 2013 levels (cycle restored), more banks loosening standards
  • Strong demand for auto loans and revolving debt
  • Stronger cyclical demand for commercial & industrial loans (still not at pre-recession levels)

Construction (US Department of Commerce)

  • Total current activity value still below $1 Trillion (pre-recession high, $1.2 Trillion)
  • Residential construction fell slightly in June, still up 7% compared to last year
  • Non-residential construction down nearly 3% in June, still up nearly 5% compared to last year
  • State & local government activity still sluggish (no growth since end of recovery)
    • Analysts consider this a “significant drag” on economic activity

Industrial Output (ISM; Richmond Fed)

  • Nationally: Factory orders up 3%, shipments up 4%, composite index recovering from winter slump
  • Mid-Atlantic (IncludesNC): Strong outlook across all indicators

Non-Manufacturing Output (ISM; Richmond Fed)

  • National: Composite, new orders and employment indices up to pre-recession levels, outlook positive
  • Mid-Atlantic (IncludesNC): Positive movement across indicators, strong expectations for future demand
  • Carolinas: Positive outlook, though softening some; challenge finding qualified workers

Consumer Spending (BLS)

  • 4% growth in personal income and personal expenditures
  • Significant inflation impact on expenditures
    • Core: +2.5% pace
    • Total: +3.0% pace
  • Strong growth in durable growth sales, up 14% in last 3 months, 5.8% year-to-year

Vehicle Sales (Wells Fargo, ESRI)

  • Annualized rate up 1 million in 2014 (16.5 million)

Housing (Multiple Sources)

  • Starts improving, but NOWHERE near pre-recession levels
  • Multi-family > Single-family
  • National and State prices up 5%
  • Millenials aren’t buying house (and maybe won’t)

An Agricultural State (Wells Fargo, Connaughton)

  • 1.6% of GDP (significantly greater than neighboring states), $7.7 Billion in Output (9th largest in US)
  • 28,800 employees (6th highest in US)
  • 2013 saw 16.4% growth in National Output, continued growth expected in 2014
  • North Carolina: 21.6% growth in 2013; forecast 10.9% growth in 2014 (strongest of sectors)

The Fed’s Strategy (Wells Fargo)

  • Eliminate QE asset purchases in October (estimate $2.5T in Treasuries on books EOY, $1.8T in MBS)
  • Need to raise interest rates (inflation, GDP growth); current environment detrimental to security and liquidity-focused investors (savers, Seniors, local governments)
  • Growth in asset purchases mirrors stock market performance since 2009

Summary: Condition & Predictions

  • Wells Fargo: Growth impact with broaden beyond strong present sectors (energy, technology, motor vehicles)
  • Walden (NC State)
    • Total household wealth improving on financial side, housing wealth stagnant
    • Anticipate 2.5% inflation in 2014 (highest since 2011)
    • Localized growth disparities likely to persist
  • John Connaughton (UNCC)
    • 2014: +1.9% GSP Growth , +0.8% in Manufacturing; +1.5% Statewide employment growth (59,700 jobs), +2.6% in Manufacturing
    • 2015: +2.1% GSP Growth, +2.1% Agriculture, +1.4% Manufacturing; +2.4% Employment (101,500 jobs), +5.1% Manufacturing (strongest sector)

 

Berner authors new book on practical use of statistics

Please take a look at the information below about Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making, a new book written by UNC School of Government’s Dr. Maureen Berner.

ICMA Members can order this book for the discounted price of $39 through the ICMA Bookstore.

This book can also be ordered from the School of Government Bookstore.

From ICMA Press:

“As a public administrator, you need to be able to analyze and evaluate policies, and understand analysis and evaluations done by others. This means having a solid working knowledge of how to apply statistics to the types of data used in local government so that you make good decisions.

Statistics for Public Administration: Practical Uses for Better Decision Making, a completely updated edition of Statistics Unraveled, focuses on demonstrating how statistics can help you do your job better, rather than on a mastery of statistics. The goal of this book is to make you, as a public administrator, an educated consumer of statistical information—and an effective translator of statistical information. You get the tools you need to design an analysis, gather, analyze and interpret data, present results, and make recommendations.

“This book is a hands-on, practical, and easy-to-understand introduction to the basic concepts and methods used to analyze data in local government. Vignettes at the beginning and end of each chapter illustrate the concepts through the dialogue of fictional local government employees as they attempt to identify and solve problems. Packed with tables, charts, figures, and review questions to reinforce the concepts, the author’s conversational tone and casual style will set you at ease and make you forget any math phobia you might have!”

About the Author

Maureen Berner first joined the School of Government in 1998, teaching program evaluation, statistics, and budgeting. Between 2003 and 2005 she directed efforts to provide new outreach activities for local governments based on the UNC model at the University of Northern Iowa. In 2005 she returned to teaching and writing for MPA students and public officials at the School of Government. Berner has been active in research and teaching in both academia and in government, and her publications include a variety of books, textbooks, and journal articles. She worked for four years with the Budget Issues Group at the U.S. General Accounting Office, including a rotation to the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee while serving as a Presidential Management Intern. Berner received an MPP from Georgetown University and PhD in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.

Economists offer economic outlook for North Carolina

Economists offer economic outlook for North Carolina

The Charlotte-based Economics Group with Wells Fargo Securities, led by past NCLGBA Conference presenter John Silvia, today released an economic outlook for the activity in North Carolina. The report offers an overview of past economic performance across the state, as well as for the Charlotte, Triad, and Triangle metro areas, in an effort to develop some observations of anticipated activity going into the future.  This is something definitely worth reviewing and possibly sharing with senior management and elected leaders.

Thanks to NCLGBA member Evans Ballard (Salisbury) for brining this to the attention of the NCLGBA Listserv.

North Carolina Outlook (April 28, 2010): Economics Group, Wells Fargo Securities (pdf)