The Dixon Hughes Goodman Triad Business Index was off 0.1% in March. Over the past 12 months, the index has dipped 0.4%. In comparison, business activity in North Carolina has grown 2.3% over the past year and was up 0.3% this month. Business activity in the Triad peaked in October of last year and has fallen for the past 5 months, while business activity in North Carolina has accelerated since the middle of last year, more than doubling its rate of growth during this period.
At the national level, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index slipped 0.1% in March but is up 1.7% over the past 12 months. The ISM Purchasing Managers Index was 51.3, which indicates activity in the manufacturing sector increased this month.
The seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment in the Triad was 9.2% in March, down 0.1 percentage points from last month and 0.2 percentage points below the level recorded 12 months ago. The national unemployment rate was 7.6%, down 0.1 percentage points from last month and 0.6 percentage points lower than March of last year.
Total nonagricultural wage and salary employment in the Piedmont Triad was off 0.1% in March. Over the past 12 months, employment has declined 0.3%. For the nation as a whole, employment gained 0.1% in March. Over the past 12 months, national employment has increased 1.4%.
Area retail sales totaled $1,160.7 million in March. Corrected for inflation and seasonal variation, retail spending was up 0.4% from February and was up 0.5% from March of last year. Employment in retail trade was higher by 0.3% in March and is up 3.0% over the past 12 months.
Housing statistics suggest that the pace of housing market activity has risen over the past 12 months. The number of existing, single-family homes sold in the Triad was up 1.2% from February and was 22.7% above the number sold one year ago.
The price of the average home sold gained 0.4% from last month. The average quality-adjusted price of an existing home in the Triad was $168,459. The average was up 5.7% from 12 months ago.
Passenger boardings at the Piedmont Triad International Airport were up 0.1% in March but are down 4.7% over the past 12 months.