"For really the first time since I've been governor, I feel very hopeful," she said.
Perdue made the remarks at the 10th annual Economic Forecast Forum to discuss the state's prospects for business growth in the new year.
The governor was joined by economists who say the prospects are good for a turnaround, with a focus on energy development opportunities.
"We made significant improvements in 2011," said Lou Ebert with the NC Chamber of Commerce. "The energy sector offers great promise, whether it's clean tech, wind, solar, nuclear, shell gas or offshore exploration."
"Change is possible on the energy front," said Bill Johnson with Duke Energy. "Human ingenuity and technological innovation will open up new possibilities for our long term energy future."
There is also concern for unemployed people who hope to find steady work after frustrating searches.
"Now is an ideal time to get back into the networking business," said Chris Wilson, who worked for Glaxo Smith Kline before starting his own business. "Get yourself out there, get into the network, get yourself known and be visible. Make as many contacts as you possibly can as you try to find a job in the new year."
However, ideas shared at the forum could help some of the unemployed return to work.