October 27, 2021/Media, Press

ICYMI: Economist: NC’s economy surges with ‘strong gain’ as COVID declines

A new report by WRAL shows that COVID-19 cases are declining and the economy is improving in North Carolina. Over the last nine months, President Biden, Governor Cooper and Democrats have been hard at work to implement a pathway out of the pandemic and spur economic growth. 

In March, President Biden and Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan, which ramped up vaccinations and testing nationwide, delivered $1,400 checks, and provided critical relief for working families through middle-class tax cuts. This historic piece of legislation has helped to get the coronavirus under control in North Carolina and get our state’s economy back on track. 

Read more from WRAL:

  • A decline in COVID delta variant cases is a “big positive” for the North Carolina economy with an improving jobs picture and a surge in building permits driving up prospects for growth, says N.C. State economist Dr. Michael Walden.
  • Walden, who has retired from teaching, still compiles the monthly NCSU Index of North Carolina Economic Indicators. And he says the September report is bullish, surging nearly 3%.
  • “The new report shows a strong gain in the Index in September. This bodes well for the state economy in months ahead,” Walden wrote in the report. But caution flags remain. He noted “challenges with inflation and supply constraints still persist.”
  • In an interview with WRAL TechWire, Walden wrote via email the Index reflected several factors.
  • “The September job report was good, so that’s a factor.
  • “The weather continues to be good for building, and lumber prices have dropped.
  • “But the big positive is that the delta variant turned the corner, and that makes everyone feel better about the economy – leading to more spending and hiring.”
  • North Carolina’s unemployment rate has declined by 3.1 percentage points over the last year, but much of that momentum took place in late-2020 and early-2021. The seasonally adjusted rate dropped from 7.3% in September 2020 to 5.9% in January, then to 5% in April. And now, after about six months of slow but steady declines, the rate stands at 4.2% in September—down 0.1% from August.
  • Consumer confidence nationally also is growing, adding to a more positive economic outlet.