Experts say local economy recovering, but slowly
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- From here at home to around the world, the economy is the biggest concern for just about all of us.

The economy in Wilmington and southeastern North Carolina has tended to fare better than the nation in past downturns. Today experts met at UNCW to discuss whether than trend will continue.

"We probably have bottomed out in terms of overall economic activity," UNCW Senior Economist Dr. Woody Hall said. "In terms of any further declines, we don't anticipate that they will exist."

But that doesn't exactly mean that our area's economy is growing. Hall says it took us a long time to get where we are and it will take just as long to get out.

Hall says the real estate market in southeastern North Carolina has stabilized and says at the earliest, it will take one to two years to see an upturn.

"I think everybody is comfortable that the prices are near bottom, have hit close to a bottom," Intracoastal Realty broker Debbie Mitchell said. "It's a good time to buy, it's a good time to make investment in real estate, so I can't promise that things are going to sky rocket."

Mitchell says not as many people are listing their homes, which means a decline in inventory and home prices.

Hall says retail sales are also a big indicator of economic growth, and though sales have gone up, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

"We don't see a net increase in retail sales," Hall said. "The growth has been a recovery from the depressed level of retail sales, so that's coming back."

He says though the future does not look super bright, it looks a whole lot better than the past.

"We're better than we were this time last year. We're better than we were this time two years ago, but we're not back to where we were in 2005 and 2006, and I don't think in my lifetime that we will see the growths that existed in '05 and '06 again," he said.

Dr. Hall says he believes our area's economic growth will mirror the growth of the country as a whole.

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They aren't exactly breaking into a chorus of "Happy Days Are Here Again" or "We're in the Money."

They are NOT giving our local economy glowing grades. They are simply saying that while it continues to stink, it seems to be stinking less than most places outside our area, and that's true.

As far as whether we're in a recession or a depression, you have to understand that these terms aren't based on individual economic situations or even widespread demographics. They are based on overall performance of the GDP. Increased hiring normally lags the end of a recession by at least six-months. However, we are now in our twenty-eight month since the recession ended with no uptick in employment.

That tells you that we are in uncharted waters, and we are seeing a new global economy that is based upon REALITY settling in on all developed nations. Our economies have been built on easy credit and phony-baloney estimates of value for too long. What we're going through right now is a LONG overdue adjustment back to economic reality. Our "housing bubble" was due to nothing more than government, the associated industries, and all of us doing exactly what Enron did - assigning fantastic values in a fake, mark-to-market cloud of lies. Enron valued an idle power plant in India at increasing billions, just as we saw our $125k home climb to $385k by 2006. Did we complain and tell the appraisers and assessors that they were out of their minds? No, we took out HELOCs and bought stuff!

The poster who stated that we need to remove burdensome governmental regulations is one-hundred percent correct, but it's going to take far more than that to bring light manufacturing back to America. The American worker is going to have to accept markedly lower wages if he hopes to compete with that worker overseas....and you are ALWAYS going to be in competition with that worker. Our artificially propped up standard of living is gone. No one is going to pay you $18 an hour to sew a collar on an assembly line any more.

We cannot jam the global economic genie back into its bottle because of treaties we are legally obligated to follow and a common sense handling of our own economy. The last thing we need right now is hyperinflation, but that's exacty what we would get if we start restricting imports or imposing tariffs.

What can YOU do to help things?

Stop rat-holing money, and start buying things. I'm as guilty as anyone in that regard, but one of the reasons our economy is dead is that consumer demand is dead.

Stop voting for politicians who promise you the moon and have a track record to prove they'll try to deliver. "The moon" is very expensive, and leads to higher taxes. Stop thinking of ME at the polls and start thinking about the city, the county, the state, and the country. Twenty-five cents of every dollar moving through our economy goes to the government, and the liberal nutjobs from both parties in Washington want to increase that amount. Instead of bashing the UNCW economists for daring to use the word "recovery," start thinking about the people you vote for. I don't care about any ancillary issues, be it gay rights, gun owner rights, abortion or the environment, right now the ONLY issue ANY of us should be bringing to the voting booth is lowering taxes and debt to get this economy moving again.

Accept that EVERYONE is going to feel pain as we go through this period of economic adjustment, because there is no sign that it's ending soon....and, if Americans don't start spending money, it's going to get far worse.

Finally, pray. Because if you asked me for an assessment of our economy, local or national, the best I'd say is, "Well, it's not as bad as the Great Depression"....

....yet.

From The Natiuonal Journal:

Pennsylvania's capital city voted to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday as it faced a state takeover, according to media reports.

The City Council voted 4-3 to seek bankruptcy protection for Harrisburg, which has a debt burden five times its general-fund budget "because of an overhaul and expansion of a trash-to-energy incinerator that doesn’t generate enough revenue," Bloomberg reported.

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Did you read the last sentence? "because of an overhaul and expansion of a trash-to-enery incinerator that doesn't generate enough revenue".

Sound familiar? Yet Barfield and others are hell-bent on spending millions on WASTEC...which has lost money from Day 1 and would continue if it's ever revived.

Anyone who does not think We are in a recession is delusional. I don't care what indicators say. Other than food, We barely build or produce everyday consumables anymore. We have sent millions of jobs overseas. The OPEC world is raping us and We send Them aid. The Chinese are stealing every bit of technology they can and manipulating the dollar. Trade is unfair, We are being bankrupted by ten plus year old wars. I look at Our Congress with more contempt than ever. Tax and spend has become tax and spend what We don't have. Recession? We are so close to financial collapse it is scary. Talk to some of our Older folks who are still with us, who lived as young adults through the great depression. It will scare you. Recession? Congress sits and bickers, while there are people I know have been out of work for years and have just stopped looking for a job. Our leaders, and I use that word loosely can't fix or turn the tide because They don't know How to fix anything. Pundits on all of the think tank TV shows, don't know squat. Recession? More like Depression, and I don't use that word lightly.

Why don't you stop the manure spreading and tell the truth. Government cannot create wealth or employment.

Manufacturing can create jobs and then wealth. These unemployed people need manufacturing jobs to sustain their lifestyle, i.e., with health insurance, pension benefits, etc.

Until we do something about removing most of the environmental manure regulations, we are in a bind. The answer is manufacturing to give people employment.

Can anyone out there hear me???? Am I all alone??

Carol Ryan

but let me take exception to the government not creating jobs. If it were not for various forms of government related jobs we would really be in the pickle barrel. Manufacturing, we gave that farm away many years ago. We not only let it go here in NC we sold the equiptment, the technology, the services every thing but the kitchen sink. I spent many years with the worlds largest textile firm, Burlington Industries, I watched it go from thousands of employees down to one of my friends who wrote his own last check as the final employee of the company. I feel your pain. Manufacturing as we remember it was lots of minium skill jobs with lower pay scale. Today our work force demands much higher pay so many of our jobs go by way of robotics in manufacturing. When our minimum skill manufacturing jobs were eliminated so many of our workers went to construction, and construction related services. As the construction market continued to grow we didnt feel the job losses so badley. Now with no construction we realize how vital manufacturing was in NC. NC seems to be atractive to the aeronautics industry and as you may know we just blew 1,500 jobs to SC in automotive tire manufacturing. I really believe we need our construction business back asap.

This proves the statment that if you can't do anything or know very much then become a teacher, and if you're really dumb then teach at UNCW. Some economists from a 4th rate school talking out their butt. Better than the whole nation...this from some guys that still live at home.

Isn't this how the Wall Street bail out initially started...by telling us all what they thought we wanted to hear? It comes under the terms of..."Buy-buy-buy/Spend-spend-spend!"
These guys @ UNCW get their 15 minutes of fame each and every time they step forward and throw out..."This is what's in store for us here in Wilmington folks". Then their predictions fade away usually the following weeks ahead.
If we all knew better...words of prediction like these sound like a calling card and invitation for people to move here where it's safe.
Well...this guys 15 minutes of fame are over...and from the remarks here under comments, it sounds as though people here know better.

The economic landscape has been permanently changed due to dyfunctional fiscal policies, an entrenched global downturn and permanent changes to the consumer's spending behavior.The average consumer will be severely stressed during the upcoming Christmas season trying to finance their purchases with limited disposable income.The only reason you are given credibilty is because you have a PhD behind your name.Your data is purely speculation.Therefore this makes your data worthless. Historical data during this guise of an economic recovery has been manipulated by government hacks.This is an economic depression even though government number crunchers say consecutive quarters of negative growth has ended.They manipulate the numbers for the number of unemployed and economic growth for political gain.Folks, remember the " The Summer Of Recovery " . Never came to fruition. How about contact the wealth creators in Southeastern N.C for an accurate guage. Contact the following sources for an accurate pulse of the local economy.The list is as follows : the largest Class 1 Railroad on the East Coast,CSX Railroad, the local trucking industry, the N.C State Port Authority,FED EX ,UPS and small business owners.The common denominator is they are involved in tangible commerce.DO NOT contact the real estate community because they are delusional.With quotes like "the real estate sector may have stablized" is a glaring example of speculation.Realtors may need to find a part-time job because it will not be on the rebound no time soon.

Please do the research to list what their last 5 annual predictions were and what the actual results were. Then we can see whether historically they are accurate or not. Anyone can make a prediction, but we need to see if past performances were any good.

This would be good news if it was factual. However, as the article says, it is just a prediction. Pure speculation at this time.

Once again, Woody and his statistician friend...both academics...have nary a clue except to cite statistics. Here's a clue Woody...until employers begin hiring, unemployment will remain high. Those who are still working aren't spending on non-essential items as they used to. No spending...no job growth.

Figures lie...and liars figure.

Government economists, who work within the realm of academia, making another bold prediction.Thus far projection by these types have been off the mark.How about consultation with people within the private sector for an accurate pulse on the economy.