The legislative Fiscal Research Division is out with a new report updating the state’s General Fund revenue and economic outlook. Some highlights from the report:
General Fund revenue through three quarters of the fiscal year is $110 million above a $14.3 billion revenue target.
Tax revenues are $126 million above a $13.5 billion target, while non-tax revenue (such as judicial fees) are slightly below targeted projections.
Since last year, the State added nearly 64,000 jobs. At the same time the labor force grew by 64,500 (seasonally adjusted). The combination of modest growth and a growing work force has kept the unemployment rate from falling. In other words, job growth didn’t keep pace with the growth of the labor force.
Non-Agricultural employment (seasonally adjusted) has increased by 197,000 jobs since employment bottomed-out in February 2010, but remains 136,400 below the peak in February 2008.
Key questions remain to be seen, including: will NC see an “April surpirise” in revenue collections (i.e. a surge or drop-off in expected revenue from end-of year filings), and if revenue continues at a higher than expected rate, what will state budget writers do with the extra funds?