Economic forecast for 2017 looking good for much of ENC

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The east is getting a look at the possibilities this year for job opportunities, potential growth and expectations for our local economy.

ECU vice chancellor for finance and administration, Dr. Rick Niswander, answered those questions during his annual economic forecast Tuesday during the Greenville Pitt County Chamber of Commerce meeting.

He says 2016 was a good year that saw unemployment in the region go down, while per capita income increased on average.

Niswander says some parts of Eastern Carolina are still struggling, however, due largely to population loss in smaller counties.

He adds that in other locations, like Greenville and Pitt County, he expects to see continued growth and development and that those construction jobs should provide a boost to the local economy for several years.

Niswander says the region as a whole has recovered very well since the early days of the recession.

"Manufacturing output is very good, and it's going to continue to be good," Niswander says. "Housing prices are showing some signs of recovery. So for the local economy, it's looking reasonably good for 2017."

Niswander adds that 2018 will be a year to watch for the business community. He says it's too early to tell what economic, tax, and health care policies will be implemented by Congress and the new Trump Administration, but that policy changes almost always create new winners and losers in the economy.