NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden: Better, But not Best

People constantly ask N.C. State University economist Mike Walden where the economy is going. His answer: better, but not best.

“Well … I think what I tell them can be summed up by ‘better, but not best.’ If we look at the major economic indicators — jobs, sales, manufacturing production, spending — I think you pretty much see the same pattern: We had big, big drops in 2008, 2009, modest drops in 2010. But since 2010, we’ve had slight improvement. And I think that’s the big concern of people — that we’re not seeing big, big improvements.

“Most of the indicators are off their recessionary lows, but they’re not back to their pre-recessionary highs. And I think the single biggest reason, if I had to put my finger on one reason for this — now this is my analysis — is that it’s all related to the devastating — absolutely devastating — drop we had in household wealth as a result of the crash in real-estate. There’s been some recovery in household wealth but not nearly back to pre-recessionary levels. I think until we have that, we’re still going to have a slow moving economy.” is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.