"They're trying to get a broad reading of the economy - the important sectors," explained Michael Walden at NC State.
Moody's splits the Triangle into two metro areas. Raleigh consists of Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties, while Durham" is made up of Orange, Chatham, Person and Durham counties.
A spreadsheet designed by Moody's shows that after several months "at risk," both metro areas joined the recession in December of last year. But seven months later - in July and August of this year - the Triangle's recession moderated.
Those are the latest months for which Moody's figures are available. A number of metro areas are already listed in the "recovery" category and Walden expects the Triangle's metro areas are headed in that direction.
"Probably pushing toward recovery," said Walden "Now, what's really holding everything back is the labor market. That's the last sector to improve."
But the labor market could get a boost beginning with the New Year. That's because Moody's lists North Carolina as being among the first dozen states to enter recovery. And they say it will start in the first quarter of 2010.
And when that happens, the Triangle's diverse, education driven economy will lead the way, according to Walden.
"If you had to ride out the recession somewhere, this is probably one of the top, if not the top metropolitan area to be," he offered.
Certainly those in the unemployment line hope that Walden and Moody's predictions come true.