Charlotte’s recovery to continue outpacing nation’s, economist says

The Charlotte region is expected to see job growth of roughly 2 percent this year, for an additional 15,000 jobs, slightly outpacing the national rate growth rate of about 1.7 percent, the chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group said Tuesday.

Stuart Hoffman said the 15,000 additional jobs will span various industries: construction, health care, manufacturing and financial services. While some of the new jobs will be in government, the growth will be primarily in the private sector, he said.

Hoffman discussed the recovery of the U.S. and Charlotte-area economy from the recent recession in a breakfast presentation he delivered at Myers Park Country Club. The event was for wealth management clients of the Pittsburgh-based bank, which has branches in the Charlotte area.

Home prices in the Charlotte area continue to recover after falling in the housing downturn, although they did not fall as steeply as prices nationally, Hoffman said. Charlotte home prices probably won’t return to predownturn peaks “for a long time,” he said.

As the economy soured, Charlotte lost a total of about 73,000 in 2008 and 2009, Hoffman said. More people are now employed in the region than at the employment peak at the end of 2007, he said.

“This region’s made quite a comeback,” he said. “You’ve recaptured all 73,000 of the jobs lost and about another 15,000. Now, of course, these aren’t the same people. They’re not the same pay.”

Over the next couple of years, he said, the Charlotte metropolitan area should see “solid and probably a little bit better than national average economic recovery,” he said.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer