Economist: Recession over, but long recovery ahead

Posted April 29, 2010 12:38 p.m. EDT
Updated May 1, 2010 7:21 a.m. EDT

— A North Carolina State University economist on Thursday declared that the recession that has cost thousands of jobs statewide over the past two years is over.

Speaking at a jobs summit sponsored by the North Carolina Chamber, Mike Walden also said the state and nation face a long road to economic recovery.

Walden cited steady growth in gross domestic product since last June, more retail sales, several months of increases in factory output and profits and lower numbers of unemployed. Last month, the unemployment rate dropped in every North Carolina county – an unprecedented occurrence – and the state added jobs.

"It means we're no longer in decline, but it does not mean that, all of a sudden, all of the jobs we've lost for the last almost three years are back," he said.

"The road back is going to be fairly long and hard," he said. "To get back the roughly 275,000 jobs lost in North Carolina and the 8 million lost in the nation since the recession (began), it may take three to four years."

Mike Tisdell said he's not impressed by Walden's stance.

"I've been out of work for 13 months," said Tisdell, a former land surveyor. "Things are starting to pick up some, but nothing like it used to be."

N.C. Chamber Chairman Lewis Ebert said the public and private sectors have to work together to keep the economic recovery going.

"We're dealing now with a psychological recovery, and I think it has to do with how businesses deal with the future," Ebert said. "How do we make sure we're working with all the best ideas, where businesses want to invest (and) they want to hire people?"