Business looks for economic improvement in coming year
Posted January 2, 2012
Updated January 3, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Business leaders will gather twice this week to hear economic forecasts for the coming year.
The North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber will host their annual forecast luncheon at noon Tuesday at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham.
Kevin Kabat, president and chief executive of Fifth Third Bank, Robert Ingram, general partner of Hatteras Venture Partners, and Harry Davis, the economist for the bankers association, will provide their outlook on the economy in 2012.
On Wednesday morning, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce will gather at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts to hear two experts describe what the chamber calls a "different" economy.
Matthew Martin, senior vice president and Charlotte regional executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo, will discuss current conditions, future trends and general economic patterns both regionally and nationally.
WRAL.com will carry both events live, at about noon Tuesday and at about 7 a.m. Wednesday.
North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden said Monday that he expects faster economic improvement in the coming year, noting factors like building permits and unemployment claims are showing positive momentum.
"I'm cautiously optimistic that we're going to see growth accelerate in North Carolina," Walden said.
About 20,000 jobs were added statewide in 2011, and he said there could be as many as 50,000 added in 2012.
He said two factors will be critical for economic growth: A decrease in household debt, which would free up money for more consumer spending, and a rebound in the housing market.
"The housing market led us into the recession. It's going to have to lead us out," he said.