Business & Economy

AgriLife Today, Texas A&M AgriLife Research photo / Flickr, Creative Commons

Two Appalachian State University students have won second place at an international competition for their creative, sustainable biofuel project.

Ali Moxley and Kelsey Simon pitched an idea to have corn chip factories use cooking oil left over from manufacturing to fuel trucks that transport packaged chips.

Flickr Creative Commons

A noncompete agreement is designed to prevent an employee from leaving his or her employer to work for a competitor. For decades, many companies required senior management to sign those agreements to protect information about the inner workings of their organizations. However, noncompete agreements are becoming more common down the economic ladder, barring blue-collar workers’ mobility and bargaining power in the workplace.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse seen from the light keepers house in Buxton. The lighthouse was put in service in 1870 and is the world's tallest brick lighthouse at 208 feet. Its beacon can be seen 20 miles out at sea.
Cliff Owen / Associated Press

House Bill 2 apparently did not dampen tourism in 2016.

North Carolina recorded a record $22.9 billion in visitor spending last year, according to figures recently put out by the Department of Commerce.

That’s an increase of 4.3 percent from 2015 and supported more than 218,000 tourism jobs, according to commerce.

Inside Raleigh-Durham International Airport, RDU
RDU

The state Senate's proposed budget includes more than $60 million for projects at Raleigh-Durham and Piedmont-Triad International Airports.

A hog farm in Lyons, Georgia.
Jeff Vanuga, USDA NRCS

A fourth veto, and now a fourth override, and now hog farmers are shielded with government protection.

Hector Emanuel, special to ProPublica

Case Farms chicken company produces nearly one billion pounds of meat each year. It supplies food for customers including Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Boar’s Head, and the U.S. government. Yet a new report shows it is a business built on the backs of the world’s most vulnerable immigrants. And its factories are some of the most dangerous workplaces in America.

Credit Suisse will add 1,200 jobs in Research Triangle Park
Credit Suisse / Flickr

Financial services giant Credit Suisse will add 1,200 new jobs in North Carolina and invest more than $70 million at its Research Triangle Park campus, the company announced Tuesday.

A screenshot taken of the Google timelapse video over Hatteras.
Google

North Carolina Sea Grant, using Google satellite imaging, looked at coastal erosion dating back to 1984.

N.C. Sea Grant took a close look at Hatteras, Ocracoke, Bogue and other areas along the coast and outer banks.

Spencer Rogers is the N.C. Sea Grant coastal construction and erosion specialist. He said tracking the changes over time is important not only for public policy, but for property owners as well.

Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed two secretarial orders
Department of the Interior

On Friday, President Trump has issued an executive order that opens up the possibility of off-shore drilling in American waters, including off the coast of the Carolinas.

The Oxford Wastewater Treatment Plant treats 3.5 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Flooding. Sewer spills. Contaminated drinking water.

Across North Carolina's communities, water systems have been pushed to their limits, and in some cases overrun. Hurricane Matthew, for example, wreaked havoc. On a smaller scale, flooding throughout the Triangle this week showed that drainage systems are susceptible even outside major disasters.

Morning on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Outer Banks Real Estate / Flickr Creative Commons

Businesses on the Outer Banks are preparing for an annual influx of international students who spend their summers working along the barrier islands. 

A picture of High Point Market.
High Point Market Authority

When House Bill 2, also known as the “bathroom bill,” passed last year, it caused some businesses in the state to lose customers and revenue. Now, officials with the biannual High Point Market hope they’ll see an increase in attendees this year.

map of a proposed change to U.S. 70
Courtesy of the NC DOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is taking public comment on a plan to overhaul two busy intersections on U.S. 70.

Image of scholar William (Sandy) Darity
Duke University Sanford School School of Public Policy

Why are some people rich and others poor? Answering this elusive question has been the lifelong work of economist William (Sandy) Darity. Darity was an observant child, and from an early age he picked up on how wealth disparities divide communities. 

A picture of a sale sign in front of a home.
myguysmoving.com / Flickr, Creative Commons

Anyone looking to buy a home has probably noticed slim pickings this year.

According to data compiled by the Associated Press, there are fewer than 3,000 homes for sale in Raleigh. That's down 16 percent from last year, and less than half the available homes from 2012.

A house for sale in Stokes County, N.C.
Images of Money via Flickr

North Carolina homeownership rates increased noticeably in 2016, the first year since the Great Recession to show a significant upward trend.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether this uptick will hold.

GlaxoSmithKline
www.gsk.com

North Carolina entrepreneurs raised more than $800 million in funding deals last year, the second-highest annual total since CED began tracking investment funding.

Figures were released by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, which tracks business investments flowing into North Carolina.

A drawing of a neighborhood surrounding a light rail station.
Gateway Planning / GoTriangle

Transit consultants are hosting six public meetings in Chapel Hill starting next week to discuss possible development around stations along the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit line, which would run along U.S. 15-501.

buildings in a downtown area
Kristopha Hohn / flickr, Creative Commons

Triangle entrepreneurs are more optimistic about hiring, sales and spending than they were last quarter, according to the Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs from the N.C. State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

House Under Construction
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Workplace fatalities in North Carolina hit a six-year high, according to preliminary data released by the N.C. Department of Labor.

Manufacturing, Textiles, Cotton, American Giant
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Part of President Donald Trump’s appeal is his pledge to bring jobs back to America. There’s a San Francisco apparel manufacturer who has tried his luck both ways – manufacturing abroad and in the US. Today, American Giant has found success in making sure every inch of its casual line of clothing is made in America. And that means it's also made in the Carolinas.

Simon & Schuster

Each new year brings with it resolutions and to-do lists. They are easy enough to make, but how do we stay motivated to actually do them? It is a topic behavioral economist Dan Ariely tackles in his new book, "Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations" (Ted Books/2016). Ariely is the author of bestselling books about behavioral economics, a Duke professor, and the founder and director of the Center for Advanced Hindsight in Durham. 

Steve Malik, owner of North Carolina FC, unveils the team's rebranded logo.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

The newly renamed North Carolina F.C. will face stiff competition to join Major League Soccer.

Owner Steve Malik bought the team a little more than a year ago, when it was still named the Carolina RailHawks. He quickly set his sights on making a bid to move from the North American Soccer League, a minor league soccer league, to the MLS, the highest professional soccer level in the United States.

Women and Work, Dress for Success
Leoneda Inge

A Triangle organization that prides itself with getting women back to work is celebrating its 10,000th client.

An image of Duke Campus
Duke University

Following the election of Donald Trump, chief financial officers in the United States reported their highest levels of optimism in nearly a decade.

Those levels of optimism were related in particular to regulatory and tax reform, two issues always high on the list of business concerns.

Credit cards
Lotus Head / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Credit-cards.jpg

People who rush to make holiday travel plans risk falling victim to scammers, according to officials with the Better Business Bureau.

Toby was one of many 'learned pigs' that spelled words and solved math problems onstage in England and America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Basic Books

Pigs are a beloved part of North Carolina culture and vital to the state’s economy, but internationally their reputation is more divisive.

Total employment by month in North Carolina since January.
Jason deBruyn / N.C. Department of Commerce

North Carolina turned in a mostly positive unemployment report for November as both estimates of employment showed positive gains for the month.

While the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5 percent – the highest since May – that increase is due to an increase in people joining the labor force, not because the economy is shrinking.

stack of money
Flickr user 401(K)2013

North Carolina's economy will grow another two percent next year - on par with growth in 2016, according to a UNC Charlotte economic forecast.

FilterEasy delivers home and business air filters through the mail
FilterEasy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends home and business owners replace their air filters once per quarter, and in some cases as often as once per month. A Raleigh startup founded by two N.C. State University students hopes that most people would rather not try to remember that on their own.

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