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2014 economic outlook for NC: Continued growth, says expert

Posted December 22, 2013
Updated December 23, 2013

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— North Carolina's economy outpaced the national economy in 2013, and the state's unemployment rate – 7.4 percent as of November – is the lowest it's been since Fall 2008.

So, what does the state's economic outlook for 2014?

Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, says economic growth is forecast to continue at a somewhat accelerated pace.

Nearly three-quarters of new jobs in the Tar Heel state since 2010 have been in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte area, Walden says.

He expects job growth in these areas to continue next year, particularly in the Triangle and Charlotte area, where he predicts unemployment rates will drop close to 5 percent by the end of 2014.

But that is also a challenge for the state, too, Walden says, as the economic divide between metro and rural areas will grow.

Another area of growth: the construction industry.

While most industries have experienced job growth, the construction industry has not. Walden expects that to change in the coming year.

"I think that will be a big plus for our economy in 2014, not just in terms of total job numbers but construction offers workers who don't have a lot of skills employment opportunities," Walden said.

Existing home sales statewide in 2013 were at their highest level in 6 years with annualized price increases near 6 percent.

Walden sees the housing market continuing to recover.

"I think we'll see sales improve faster," Walden said. "I don't think we're going to see the kind of housing price increases that we've seen in recent years."

In his final analysis, Walden predicts the trend of more people getting back to work will continue in 2014 with the state seeing more than 100,000 new net jobs.

"We're on an upward climb here, which is good, and we're climbing a little bit faster than the nation," he said.

North Carolina does face several economic challenges, however, including a skills mismatch between what employers are looking for and what job seekers can offer.

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  • sixnitepkg Dec 24, 2013

    guess he's got an easy prediction... pretty close to rock bottom now, so no where to go but up! but the statement "the trend of more people getting back to work will continue" is a bald faced falsehood (aka. "lie") read the recent headline here on wral "State unemployment rate dips as employers shed jobs"... note the "AS EMPLOYERS SHED JOBS"??? more people ARE NOT getting back to work... more people have given up on finding work! (thus removing them from the calculation of the percentage of "unemployed") Gov. McCrory and his GOP cronies have actually made more people give up than find jobs... such a WONDERFUL accomplishment!!

  • Bill Brasky Dec 23, 2013

    "That is what you call some good ole Republican leadership going on there. The rest of the nation, being lead by a Democrat, does not see anything close to these numbers. Only Republican lead states share in such economic prosperity."

    I can't tell if that's sarcasm

  • superman Dec 23, 2013

    Guess he didnt consider the affects that Obumma care is going to have. Companies going to dump employees cause they cant afford to pay for health care for their employees. Walden must be living in a cardboard box. His crystal ball is a bit cloudy from what he is smoking.

  • Gidder Dun Dec 23, 2013

    Let the name calling begin....

  • A person Dec 23, 2013

    2014 economic outlook for NC: Continued growth, says expert

    That is what you call some good ole Republican leadership going on there. The rest of the nation, being lead by a Democrat, does not see anything close to these numbers. Only Republican lead states share in such economic prosperity.