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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.

Comment on this Story

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    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.

    _____________________________________

    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.

  • Peyton Garrett

    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.

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