Triangle economy will be one of best metro areas in US for growth, study says

RALEIGH – The future of the U.S. and regional Triangle economy remains uncertain but a new report expects the Triangle to perform well in 2023.

That’s according to the latest American Growth Project report from the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill.

It forecasts the Raleigh and Durham area to experience the fourth highest GDP growth rate among the 50 most populous extended metropolitan areas during 2023.

The region trails San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle, while outpacing San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Nashville.

Overall, the Kenan Institute continues to predict that a recession will come during the second half of 2023 or early in 2024, the report notes.

“The economic pain caused by this downturn will be felt unevenly across the county,” the latest report notes.  “The good news is that we expect the anticipated recession to be relatively mild.”

An analysis by the Kenan Institute projects that despite anticipating a recession, more than half of the largest extended metropolitan areas (EMAs) in the United States will show positive GDP growth.

Report: Triangle economy is sizzling, ranking as 4th fastest-growing metro in U.S.

But slowdown expected

“Cities with strong economic fundamentals, such as emerging industries and positive migration inflow, can perform well even during a national economic slowdown,” the report notes.

And in that context, the report highlights specific industry trends that may impact some regions more than others.  That includes, for example, the “woes of the tech sector” which is experiencing “one of the biggest slowdowns in the country” and will impact places like San Francisco, Austin, Denver, and the Research Triangle area.

The Raleigh and Durham EMA previously ranked fourth for GDP growth during 2022, the Kenan Institute found in October.  And the latest report shows an updated GDP growth rate of 3.8% during 2022 for the region.

But with the slowdown in the tech sector and the projected and anticipated downturn in the national economy, the latest report is projecting a growth rate of 1.6% in 2023, a drop of 2.2 percentage points in the Raleigh and Durham EMA.

That’s a larger drop expected than any of the other regions that rank among the top five regions in the latest Kenan Institute report.  San Francisco and Austin are both expected to decrease by 2.1% and Seattle is forecast to decrease b 2% with San Antonia decreasing by 1.2% in 2023.