A longtime regional economic forecaster is predicting that his mind will soon be occupied with other things.
William “Woody” Hall, professor of economics at University of North Carolina Wilmington, said he plans to retire at the end of the current academic year, leaving a nearly 41-year career at the school.
“If you count the two years I spent at Western Carolina University before coming to UNCW, I will be two months shy of 43 years in teaching,” he said Friday. “That’s 52 percent of my life.”
Hall, who is senior economist at UNCW's Swain Center for Business and Economic Services, said he thinks only two other faculty members at UNCW have a longer tenure than his.
For years, he has conducted research on the state of the local economy and presented his conclusions and predictions at the Swain Center's annual economic outlook conference. This year's event is scheduled for Oct. 14.
“As the Senior Economist in the Cameron School of Business’ Swain Center for Business and Economic Services, Woody Hall is nothing less than a UNCW institution," provost Denise Battles said in a statement Friday. "His teaching and research involving economic forecasting has been stellar and is well known and respected throughout the business community in the region. During his tenure at UNCW, he has impacted positively the lives of hundreds of students. We appreciate all that he has done for Cameron, the institution, and our region, and wish him all the best as he makes this transition.”
Hall said he and his wife don’t plan on moving from Wilmington, although their children live in Charlotte and Durham, and there will be more time in Hall’s life to visit them.
He’s not certain the paths he’ll pursue in retirement, but Hall says he just might turn to writing. He doesn’t plan on turning out tomes on economics. What he has in mind are the tales of intrigue and suspense that he likes to read; his favorite authors include Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Michael Crichton and Lee Child.
“I have some concern about what I’ll be doing,” Hall said. “History has shown that other people making this decision have had second thoughts, but I want to do something else before I peak. I’m in reasonably good health, and I hope to go out before I start to decline.”
Meanwhile, the Wilmington region can look forward to eight more months of spider graphs, bar charts and market trends as Hall continues to observe the economic landscape and make his wry predictions.