BNC’s annual economic outlook panelists offer positive view
Upbeat economic vibes were evident at Business North Carolina’s annual Economic Outlook roundtable hosted Friday at UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics. We had a great turnout at the event MC’d by Publisher Ben Kinney. Here were a few of the interesting comments from panelists:
* Thomas Stith, N.C. Disrict Drector for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said he sees a “vibrant small business community” in the state. SBA loan volumes are not growing, he said, which he said suggests that traditional lenders are more confident in making loans that don’t require federal guarantees as occurs during more difficult economic periods. SBA volume tends to pick up in recessions.
* N.C. Railroad Co. CEO Scott Saylor urged the state to invest much more in infrastructure to prepare for the additional 1 million in population expected in North Carolina over the next seven years
* Stan Kelly, CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership, noted that the Triad has made sizable investments in megasites, Piedmont Triad International Airport and the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter which he predicted will pay off big in the future. The region has 30,000 unfilled jobs now with unemployment at 3.5%-4%, putting pressure on employers to attract great talent, he said.
* Adam Currie, Triad market president for First Bank, said loan losses are at their lowest level in the Southern Pines-based bank’s 85-year history. He said the economy in its markets tends to be be “hot, not white-hot” and noted that most of the rural markets served by the state’s largest community bank “are holding their own.” Many of the state’s smaller cities are doing quite well, he added.
Among those attending the event were UNC Greensboro Chancellor Frank Gilliam and N.C. Reps. Jon Hardister, Allen McNeill, Steve Ross and Patricia Hurley and State Sen. Michael Garrett.
Read more about the roundtable in the February edition of Business North Carolina.