Ad Spot

NC State speaker predicts 2020 will be year of economic growth

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — N.C. State Professor and Economist Michael Walden gave his perspective on the economy and a look ahead ash the Rowan Chamber’s Power in Partnership on Thursday morning.

He gave the caveat that, because tomorrow may change the economy, his perspective is time-limited. But Walden said he believes that the nation’s longest sustained economic growth in its history will continue.

“2020 will be a growth year,” Walden said. “I don’t see recession in the future. I’ve been saying that all along, but more economist are now saying that.”

Growth, which looks at gross domestic product, has slowed to 2% in 2019 while it was 3.2% around World War II and before 2000. The question for economists is why is the country is growing more slowly. President Donald Trump’s administration, Walden said, argued one of the reasons was a need for more incentives. After Tax Reform Act of 2017 passed, there was a bump in economic growth in 2018, 2.95%, Walden said. It has since settled down to 2%.

Because fertility rates are low, Walden said, the country isn’t generating more people, particularly workers at rates they were previously.

Still, unemployment rates are down — at 3.5% nationwide, a 50 year low. In Rowan County, the unemployment rate was 3.8% mid-2019, he said. It’s not likely, he said, that there will be much of a further reduction in that rate since there are always going to be people in between jobs or taking a break.

Labor force participation — the number of people between 18 and 60 who are not disabled, incarcerated or in the military and employed or actively looking — has been impacted due to the opioid epidemic.

“We have a relatively new problem in our country and that is addiction due to things like opioids, and a great big problem here in North Carolina,” Walden said. “It’s estimated nationally there are 2.5 million people who addicted to opioids who if they weren’t addicted they would be working.”

He asked ,“Is there a relationship between counties that have higher levels of opioid addictions and they have higher levels of unemployment?” The answer was “Yes, no question about it.”

Walden spoke about trade and the impact of well-known deals with China and NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Walden said when NAFTA was approved in 1994 and was controversial in North Carolina. Many thought it would mean manufacturing jobs in the textile and apparel industries would leave.

That happened, he said.

Walden said a newly approved trade deal, the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, may help with farming and agriculture in the state by removing some barriers of selling dairy products to Canada. It also will be good for the state growing its auto sector, he said. The “new NAFTA,” as Walden called it, raises the requirement of parts that go into vehicles assembled in North America from 60% to 70%. It also requires an increase in wages for Mexican workers.

A new trade agreement with China, he said, will address problems involving rules and regulations that make it hard for U.S. companies to sell in China and vice versa, with China heavily subsiding their companies.

In order for North Carolina’s economy to grow, especially in rural areas, the state should concentrate on agribusiness, international tourism and retirees, Walden said.

Comments

Local

Recreation centers keep legacy of Evans, Miller, Hall alive

Local

Candidates discuss rural internet needs at Woodleaf forum

Education

School board to look at more renewal plans, valedictorian and salutatorian honors

Education

No bond, no building: Supporters say RCCC programs would stagnate without bond issue

Business

Biz Briefs: Local hiring event to recruit military personnel

Local

High school students from across the state compete in trade skill event

Local

James Greene recounts working as one of the first black probation officers

Business

Black business owners celebrate progress in community

Elections

Ellis, Hoy campaign for increased education funding in Senate race

News

Commissioner candidates talk future of space at West End Plaza

Business

Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion to resolve probes into fake accounts

Education

RSVP to attend Hood Theological Seminary symposium in March

Nation/World

McConnell-linked group funding ads to help North Carolina Democrat

Local

Council executive says local scouting won’t be affected by bankruptcy

Lifestyle

Victory 45: Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II

Crime

Blotter: Two arrested, charged after domestic assault in vehicle

Kannapolis

Kannapolis mayor appointed to new statewide committee

Check this out

Rowan weather: Warming up a bit

Local

Photos: Weather sprinkles Rowan County with snow

Crime

Search warrant: Cohen shown on surveillance video at time of fire

Education

Civil Rights leader visits Salisbury High, speaks to students

Education

Blackbeard exhibit comes ashore at N.C. Transportation Museum

Elections

State senate candidates square off on economic concerns, health care

Crime

Blotter: Officers witness road rage incident in Walmart parking lot, driver charged