The N.C. State University Index of North Carolina Leading Economic Indicators, a tool created by NCSU professor Michael Walden, increased 1.7 percent in October from its level in September.
Walden created the indicator to give business owners, politicians, economic recruiters and others a fresh source on North Carolina's economic health looking four to six months ahead.
The index is based on five components, including initial claims for unemployment benefits and weekly hours of work for manufacturing employees. It's modeled on the national leading index and similar indices in other states.
Four of the five components of the Index improved in October, the exception being initial unemployment claims, which increased.
Building permits registered a gain of more than 18 percent.
Walden said the building permits component deserves close attention. If permits — and the housing sector — revive, it will portend a more rapid recovery.
Compared to a year ago, the Index is modestly higher.