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(Part I of II)

Strong growth, increased sales, expanded workforce - these are all  forecasts from the Chamber’s recent Economic Outlook Briefing, featuring renowned economist Dr. Michael L. Walden. 

Dr. Walden shared important news on the state of our economy and the following are some of his key take-aways: 

I.  NationalGrowth in the US has accelerated and will likely continue, but this growth comes with costs: rising inflation and interest rates. These two rising “i’s” (inflation and interest rates) likely contributed to the recent volatility in the stock market, and we can anticipate more market adjustments in the coming weeks.

II.  State: Growth in NC is pacing faster than the rest of the nation, fueled by in-migration. The sectors with the strongest growth rates are Information, Business and Professional Services, Leisure and Food Service, and Farming and Forestry.
Overall, growth is uneven:
  • High and low paying jobs are growing, but middle-paying jobs are not (think income inequality).
  • Growth is concentrated in large and medium sized metros, mostly Charlotte and RTP (think urban/rural divide).
Going forward, growth is expected to continue in NC, and the following are some future issue areas for the state:
  1. Technological unemployment
  2. Urbanization of the state
  3. Support in depopulating counties
  4. Accommodating three million more residents by 2050
  5. Powering our future
  6. Improving education and re-skilling
III.  Orange County: Growth and employment are strong in Orange County and expected to continue. During the recession, unemployment in NC reached 11%, but Orange County never exceeded 6.5%. Currently, Orange County unemployment is at 3.5% and near full employment. Going forward, we can expect pressures in Orange County housing supply and prices as well as traffic.

(Chamber special guest Dr. Michael L. Walden speaking with WCHL Morning Show Host Ron Stutts for a radio interview  that aired on 97.9 “The Hill” on 02/21/2018.)

Review Dr. Walden’s presentation and listen to his radio interview with Ron Stutts on 97.9 WCHL “The Hill.”

More on Dr. Walden:  Dr. Michael L. Walden is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Extension Economist at North Carolina State University and a member of the Graduate Economics faculty with The Poole College of Management. He has served on several local and state level commissions and co-authored many economic thrillers designed to teach economics in an entertaining way.  Dr. Walden can be frequently seen, heard, and read in the local and national media. Read full bio

More on the forum: The Economic Outlook Briefing presented by Chapel Hill Economic Development was the first of six policy forums for the Chamber's 2018 Policy Series. The series features influential speakers addressing timely topics related to the economy, economic development, public policy, and local elections. The forums occur every-other-month on the third Wednesday of that month from 8:30am-10:00am. The 2018 Chamber Policy Series is free for Chamber members and sponsored by Cardinal Innovations HealthcareDurham Tech, and Silverspot Cinema
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