Columnist: Mike Walden

Apr. 12, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

More sunny or cloudy days ahead for the economy?

Economists love numbers -- some might call it an occupational hazard. Numbers are our window into the workings of the economy. Without numbers, we’d have a difficult time understanding how the economy is changing, both in positive and negative ways.


Feb. 20, 2014 @ 02:48 PM

Why is state's unemployment still so high?

There’s good news and bad news about the North Carolina job market. The good news is that more jobs have been created in recent years. Since the job market began to turn around in early 2010, both monthly surveys of the labor market in the state show job and employment gains totaling near 250,000.


Jan. 05, 2014 @ 06:19 PM

Up, down, sideways -- what direction will the economy go in 2014?

It’s that time of year again when economists are asked to polish their crystal balls and peek into the economic future.


Oct. 27, 2013 @ 09:16 AM

You Decide: Can growth solve our economic problems?

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a prominent state leader. The person was picking my brain about various economic issues, one of which is our low rate of economic growth. The leader wondered if boosting the growth rate could be one of the keys to solving many of our problems.


Oct. 25, 2013 @ 12:21 PM

You Decide: Can growth solve our economic problems?

I recently had a very interesting conversation with a prominent state leader. The person was picking my brain about various economic issues, one of which is our low rate of economic growth. The leader wondered if boosting the growth rate could be one of the keys to solving many of our problems.


Oct. 07, 2013 @ 12:43 PM

You Decide: How can we help low-wage workers?

My first paying job was with a fast-food restaurant chain in my hometown. I started as the french-fry assistant, standing over a deep fryer cooking a basket of potato strips, emptying the basket when they were cooked, salting them and finally bagging the fries for customers.


Aug. 04, 2013 @ 11:56 AM

You decide: What's the best gauge of North Carolina's economy?

How do we know what's happening to our state's economy? Certainly we can rely on our personal experience, but there's no assurance that what's happening in our own economic life is representative of the entire state.


Jul. 21, 2013 @ 07:01 PM

Is it possible for inflation to be too low?

I was listening to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke the other night speak at a press conference (I know, I need to get a life). Anyway, he said something that struck me as very contrary to the way most people think. He said -- and I am paraphrasing -- that while inflation can certainly be too high, it can also be too low.


Jul. 07, 2013 @ 05:14 PM

You decide: What ails North Carolina's economy?

Information technology has spawned entire new industries, rendered many older industries obsolete and has replaced brawn-power with brain-power as the most significant worker characteristic. What’s more important now is how workers think, solve problems and create new solutions. This means that college-educated workers, particularly in the scientific, technological and management fields, are the hottest commodity for companies.


Jun. 21, 2013 @ 02:01 PM

You decide: Are interest rates headed higher?

In the years right before his death, my father became very interested in investments. Maybe it was because he wanted his financial affairs in good order before he passed. Or maybe he became caught up in all the discussions about investing during the Great Recession. But for whatever reason, he continually peppered me with questions about where he should put his money and what was going to happen to different kinds of investments.


Jun. 09, 2013 @ 03:05 PM

You decide: How will technology shape our future?

So what can we expect out of the next inventor’s garage or lab? That’s a good question to which there are no sure answers. But there can be some fairly good educated guesses. Fortunately, the smart people at the McKinsey Global Institute, one of the leading consulting and business management firms in the world, recently released a detailed report giving their forecasts for the next wave of gadgets.


May. 28, 2013 @ 11:59 AM

Walden: What's behind China's economic boom?

When I was growing up in the 1950s, China was our political enemy. My uncle, who lived next to my family, had fought the Chinese army in Korea, so nothing positive was said about China during family gatherings.