UNC economists predict national recession in 2023, but say Raleigh and Durham should fare well

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Tuesday, January 10, 2023
UNC economists predict national recession in 2023
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Uncertainty in the national economy should not have as big an impact in the Triangle, according to economic forecast from UNC researchers.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Uncertainty in the national economy should not have as big an impact in the Triangle, according to economic forecast from UNC researchers.

The Raleigh and Durham metro is projected to be one of the fastest-growing areas in the country in 2023, according to The American Growth Project's January Report.

The American Growth Project examines trends and anticipates the uneven impact a recession could have on the 50 largest metro areas in the nation.

The report projects Raleigh and Durham fourth on the list for fastest growing this year at a 1.6% GDP-slowing from 2022 but still in positive territory.

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"We do have all of this strength, the strength and employment because of all the firms that are moving into the region, into the Triangle," explained Gerald Cohen, UNC Chief Economist Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

"Google, Amazon, Apple, if those firms decide not to do that, then that could be a potential negative game changer. But generally, these plans are very long-lived," Cohen added.

Major corporations with high-paying jobs help fuel other industries including real estate.

A strong workforce -- especially in science, technology engineering, and math fields -- thanks to training from Triangle universities is part of the reason economists from UNC's Kenan Institute expect the Raleigh and Durham metro to continue to grow while predicting the country is headed for a recession in late 2023 or early 2024.

"I believe it's going to be mild," Cohen explained about the forecasted recession pointing out a highly skilled workforce in the Triangle.

"The tech industry is seeing its challenges," Cohen added. "Still, those skills are in demand. Every firm that we're talking to is saying the skills are really in demand, and the Triangle region is a place where we have a lot of those skills, and that's really positive."