The Dixon Hughes Goodman Triad Business Index was up 0.1% in May. The index has gained 1.6% over the past 12 months but at a 0.7% annualized rate over the past three months. In comparison, business activity in North Carolina has grown 2.5% over the past year and was up 0.2% this month.
At the national level, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index gained 0.7% in May and is up 5.7% over the past 12 months. The ISM Purchasing Managers Index was slightly higher at 52.8, which indicates activity in the manufacturing sector is expanding at a faster pace than in April. However, the index was at 55.6 in May 2014.
The seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment in the Triad was 5.7% in May, up by a tenth of a point since April, but 0.7 percentage points below the level recorded 12 months ago. The national unemployment rate was 5.5%, also up 0.1 points from last month but 0.8 percentage points lower than in May of last year.
Total non-agricultural wage and salary employment in the Piedmont Triad rose 0.2% this month and is up 1.6% over the past 12 months. For the nation as a whole, employment gained 0.3% in May. Over the past 12 months, national employment has increased 2.3%.
Area retail sales totaled $1,290.1 million in May. Corrected for inflation and seasonal variation, retail spending was up 0.2% in May and up 6.2% from May of last year. Employment in retail trade was up 0.3% in May and has gained 2.7% over the past 12 months.
Housing statistics suggest that the pace of housing market activity continuing to recover slowly. The number of existing, single-family homes sold in the Triad was up 1.4% in May, and is 1.9% above the number sold 12 months ago.
The price of the average home sold rose was unchanged from last month. The average quality-adjusted price of an existing home in the Triad was $195,085. The average was up 7.0% from 12 months ago.
Within the commercial real estate sector, the vacancy rate in the office market has fallen slightly in the last few months, though it remains substantially above the national average. In the apartment and retail markets, rents continue to move up, indicating improving conditions there.
Passenger boardings at the Piedmont Triad International Airport were off 0.1% as compared to April, and have dropped 0.8% year over year. Cargo shipments were down 0.5% this month and are off 6.6% over the past 12 months.