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UNCC economist predicts sluggish growth for NC economy through 2012

North Carolina’s economy expanded by only 1 percent last year and will continue to have a sluggish recovery from the recession through 2012, University of North Carolina at Charlotte economist John Connaughton said today in his latest quarterly economic forecast.

“Overall, the North Carolina economy suffered through a modest recovery at best during 2010,” he said. “While the U.S. economy maintained a modest yet stable record of economic growth, the North Carolina economy started strong but had very weak growth during the spring and summer quarters.”

Last year, North Carolina establishments gained only 5,600 net jobs, an increase of 0.1 percent over 2009.  The 2010 gains follow the loss of more than 320,000 jobs from 2008 to 2009.

In the first quarter of 2010, the state’s economy experienced a 2 percent increase in gross state product. In the second quarter, GSP dipped and recorded an annualized real growth rate of 1.5 percent. GSP declined by 0.8 percent in the third quarter but rebounded slightly in the fourth quarter to record an annualized increase of 1 percent.

Seven of the state’s 11 sectors experienced increases during 2010: mining, (9.1 percent), agriculture (5.2 percent), wholesale trade, (3.7 percent), services (3.6 percent) retail trade, (1.5 percent), government (1.2 percent) and nondurable goods manufacturing (0.7 percent).

Connaughton expects the state’s economy to increase by 2.7 percent during 2011, in which he forecasts North Carolina establishments will gain 64,700 net jobs, an increase of 1.7 percent over the employment level in December.

In 2012, he expects North Carolina establishments to gain 72,000 net jobs, an increase of 1.9 percent over the employment level in December 2011.

Connaughton said the state’s economy contracted 0.8 percent in 2009.

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