Business & Economy

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

North Carolina's largest health insurance company said Wednesday it doesn't need a 22.9 percent price increase after all for individual policies it will sell next year through the Affordable Care Act and is cutting its request to an average 14.1 percent instead.

Jason Heilig stands in the doorway of Rodanthe Surf Shop on Hatteras Island, which he owns. He normally counts on the busy season for a big chunk of annual revenue.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Jason Heilig stood in the doorway of Rodanthe Surf Shop on Hatteras Island on Monday.

No customers picked through the board shorts or tried on sunglasses. The trailer of surfboard rentals sat filled to the top. For a normal midday in late July, Heilig would like to see those reversed: an empty trailer and full shop.

Courtesy of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority

Customer satisfaction at Raleigh-Durham International Airport is on the rise, according to the airport’s latest survey. That comes as the airport is also experiencing record traffic. Ninety-nine percent of customers rated the airport as a 4 or 5 on a five-point scale. 

downtown Raleigh skyline
NCDOTcommunications / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/bbmA6K

The Raleigh housing market continues at a white hot pace, driven partly by institutional investors. Real estate analysts with Attom Data Solutions crunched the numbers, and they noticed an interesting trend.

 

The phone rings for the the fourth or fifth time in so many minutes inside a soul food joint in Durham, North Carolina. The place looks more like an accountant’s office than a restaurant.

“Chicken Hut,” answers matriarch Peggy Tapp. “Yes ma’am, we are.”

The Chicken Hut has opened and closed locations and faced family tragedies. The city even built a freeway through it. But they serve the same chicken they have been dishing up since they opened in the 1950s.

Duke Energy's coal-burning plant and the adjacent coal ash ponds by the Dan River.
Riverkeeper Foundation

Duke Energy Corp. is giving notice it plans to seek electricity rate increases for another 2 million North Carolina customers.

City of Durham flag
Tim Bounds / Flickr, Creative Commons, https://flic.kr/p/TctYiN

Entrepreneurs with ideas to improve city government can test their innovations through a new effort in Durham.

The Chesterfield in downtown Durham's Brightleaf District will become a medical research building.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

From tobacco to medicine.

One of downtown Durham's last remaining empty buildings will open for business again, and it's attracting medical research this time around.

Durham, Affordable Housing, Housing for New Hope
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

It is not as easy to find a place to live in the city of Durham as it used to be just a few years ago. The “Bull City” has made its share of “best places to live” lists, thanks to population growth, a booming economy and a transformed downtown.

Construction worker.
Naoya Fujii / Flickr - Creative Commons

Nationally the number of people employed in middle-wage jobs rose by 6 percent between 2001 and 2015. But the numbers in North Carolina went in the other direction. 

Eddie Wise on the day of his eviction from his family farm.
Courtesy John Biewen

Eddie Wise comes from a family of farmers who worked the land for three generations. He and his wife Dorothy had dreams of raising animals together, so they decided to start their own farm near Whitakers, North Carolina. 

Infosys plans to hire 2,000 workers within four years in North Carolina, the second of four planned expansion sites in the U.S. intended to create 10,000 jobs.
Infosys

India-based information technology outsourcing company Infosys plans to hire 2,000 workers within four years in North Carolina, the second of four planned expansion sites in the U.S. intended to create 10,000 jobs.

Barak Richman
Barak Richman

New York City’s Fifth and Sixth Avenues are home to some of the world’s biggest, richest retailers and financial giants. But on a stretch of 47th Street that connects these two thoroughfares, an ancient barter economy for diamonds still holds sway. The diamond industry is built on family relationships and ethnic networks, and it operates independent of modern legal and financial institutions.

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. 

Photo of Tom Barrack, real estate mogul
Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Thomas Barrack is a real estate mogul and President Donald Trump’s good friend. He built a housing empire by swooping in and purchasing foreclosed homes during the recession.

Photo of Becky Holmes
Becky Holmes

 

Becky Holmes grew up eating the bread and processed foods her family could get from food pantries. They struggled with obesity, mental illness and other ailments that made Becky realize what you eat matters. She vowed to break the cycle of poverty and be the one to give back.  


Home sales in May. The "Entire Triangle Region" includes all outlying Triangle counties as well.
Triangle Multiple Listing Service / Jason deBruyn

Housing prices continued their rise in May, and also hit a new record.

It's no secret that home prices in the Triangle have shot up. Year over year sales prices have increased for 37 straight months now.

Wilmington has seen fewer film deals since the state reduced tax credits.
Allen Forrest / Flickr

Filmmakers have spent less and produced fewer projects in North Carolina in the past two years.

That's when the state changed its film incentives program to a capped-grant program. Before the change, state taxpayers offered credits to filmmakers with a project cap but no statewide limit.

The popular Skyhouse Apartments in Raleigh while still under construction.
James Willamor / Flickr

Apartment demand in Raleigh will grow at one of the fastest rates in the country, according to a new housing report.

In fact, the research estimates that apartment units will increase by 69 percent in the greater Raleigh area by 2030.

Low-income working families with children
Annie E. Casey Foundation / Jason deBruyn

An annual report on the well-being of children in North Carolina shows mixed results. 

The data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation indicates the state ranks 33rd in the country in economic, social and health indicators for children.

Horace Robinson of Upper Cutz in Rich Square.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

With the buzzing sound of hair clippers in the background, Horace Robinson, the owner of Upper Cutz barber shop, laments that the last bank branch in his rural town closed.

"Now we’ve got to go 15, 20 miles to another branch in order just to get change," said Robinson, while shaping a client’s mustache and beard.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina headquarters in Durham.
BCBSNC

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina filed to increase Affordable Care Act premiums by 22.9 percent next year.

A rendering of the 22-story FNB Tower that will break ground in downtown Raleigh later this year.
Courtesy of FNB Corporation

First National Bank has announced plans to build a 22-story building in downtown Raleigh. The building will include residential and commercial space, and will be on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh's City Plaza. 

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.

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