UNC Economists Forecast Better Times in Coastal North Carolina

Local economies often follow their own paths, and many coastal communities are affected by unique local economic trends. A case in point is the Wilmington, N. C., area, and the three coastal counties surrounding it (Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender). According to the Triangle Business Journal (" UNC study: N.C. coastal communities to grow faster than state, nation in 2010," by James Gallagher), a study by University of North Carolina economists William Hall and Ravija Badarinathi concludes that this coastal region is projected to recover faster from the current recession, and grow faster in 2010 than the rest of North Carolina or the rest of the U.S.. The Wilmington area's economy is influenced by trade traffic through the city's international port facilities. The UNC researchers noted that "Container tonnage passing through the Wilmington state port facilities is rising, after being down through much of 2008," reports the Business Journal. In addition, real estate sales appear to be hitting a bottom, and unemployment rates have been stable in recent months, although still high and expected to remain high. Given these hopeful indicators, Hall and Badarinathi project, Wilmington and vicinity can expect a 4% annual growth rate in 2010. That compares with just 2% projected growth nationally, and just 1.5% for the state of North Carolina as a whole. For the near term, however, things are not so rosy, even in the Wilmington area, notes a UNC release on the Hall and Badarinathi report: "Local economic activity was virtually flat over 2008 and will likely rise only 1 percent over 2009 ." (" UNC Wilmington Business Faculty: Local Economy Will Grow Faster than State and Nation in 2010.")