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NC economy to improve slowly in 2010

North Carolina's economy will grow modestly in 2010 according to UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton who released his annual forecast today. Connaughton says businesses in the state will add slightly more jobs than they lose next year, which would be an improvement over this year when the number of jobs overall dropped by more than three percent. Construction and manufacturing have so far suffered more than other sectors in North Carolina. Connaughton expects construction to have the strongest recovery of any of the state's economic sectors next year. But Connaughton said the manufacturing jobs are not coming back. "I mean they're gone forever and ever," said Connaughton on WFAE's Charlotte Talks Thursday. "And not only that. Even if we get a good sustained recovery in 2010, at the end of the year there'll be fewer manufacturing jobs than there were at the beginning of the year." Connaughton predicts manufacturing jobs in North Carolina will be down 10 percent next year. Employment in mining will also be down, but Connaughton says all other industries in North Carolina will add jobs. Even still, he says the state's unemployment will continue to hover around 11 percent for most of 2010.