Business & Economy

A picture of a wallet with cash in it.
401(k) 2013 / Flickr

North Carolinians are having more trouble attaining the American Dream, according to a new report from Durham-based research center MDC and the John M. Belk Endowment.

Image of Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Capitol Broadcasting Company

Jim Goodmon was immersed in the world of broadcasting as a young kid, watching his grandfather build Capitol Broadcasting Company from the ground up. He spent his teen years driving around eastern North Carolina giving away free TV antennas to encourage people to start tuning into WRAL.

An image of 'The Road Taken' by Henry Petroski
Bloomsbury Press

Approximately 65,000 bridges in the U.S. are considered "structurally deficient," according to the latest report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. With roads in constant need of repair and bridges collapsing, America's infrastructure is at a crossroads, says author Henry Petroski.

Image of Meredith Sawyer, early childhood educator in Greensboro who earns less than a living wage
Duke Center for Documentary Studies

An estimated 20 percent of North Carolinians earn less than a "living wage."

Advocates refer to that term as the household income needed to cover housing, food, child care, healthcare, transportation, taxes and other necessities.

A new interactive video exhibit from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University tells the stories of these workers and explores the options for new policies that might help them. 

Image of children eating lunch
U.S. Department of Agriculture

A report out of Duke University says the Great Recession had a multi-year negative impact on child well-being in America.

Though the recession occurred from 2007-2009, children felt the effects from the downturn through 2012.

An image of the cover of "Harness the Sun: America's Quest for a Solar-Powered Future"
Beacon Press / Beacon Press

The use of solar energy is increasing in America, but the renewable energy source is not cost-free. Solar energy provides a cleaner alternative to other energy sources like coal, but still poses a threat to natural habitats and for homeowners who cannot afford initial costs.

RDU
www.rdu.com

Public and private funds are now all accounted for to guarantee the new RDU to Paris flight takes off on time.

Blue Cross Blue Shield pen
frankieleon / Flickr Creative Commons

Enrollment errors with Blue Cross and Blue Shield created challenges for 25,000 customers. Several factors contributed to the problem including an extension to sign up for the Affordable Care Act and a software transfer within Blue Cross.

An image of the Greensboro city skyline
Turboknowledge / Wiki creative commons

The Triad region was a case study for many of North Carolina's top news stories in 2015. Greensboro is part of the lawsuit against the latest round of redistricting in the state. The merger between Reynolds American Inc. and the Lorillard Tobacco Company rocked the local economy. Many of the effects of the 2015 events will carry into the new year. 

A picture of the BCBS NC Headquarters in Durham.
Jed Record / flickr.com/photos/jedstr/14797220372

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is scrambling to make things right for customers who purchased their own health insurance.

Image of Greensboro Skyline
Beyonce245 / Wikimedia Commons

Greensboro's economy is recovering from the recession, according to the city's annual growth and development trends report.

Planning Department Director Sue Schwartz says the recession hit Greensboro early, when the local textile and furniture manufacturing jobs moved overseas. Schwartz says aviation manufacturing jobs are making a difference.

"We've seen smaller scale manufacturing coming back, but we've also seen growth in the financial sector and in health care. So we're a more diversified economy, but it takes a while to get to that point."

Gov. Pat McCrory stands at a podium and speaks to the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday.
Dave DeWitt

At the annual Economic Forecast Forum Wednesday, executives and Governor Pat McCrory convened to share their opinions on the state’s economic climate.

Many economists were optimistic, saying 2015 was a big year, but 2016 looks even better. Wages are up, the work force is growing, and even more job growth is projected for the coming year.

Pat McCrory, Gov McCrory
Wes Gappens / NC Chamber

Business leaders, bankers and policy-makers gathered in Research Triangle Park for the annual Economic Forecast Forum sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber.

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.

People First Tourism, NC State, Chris Smith
People First Tourism

A new tourism venture aims to help travelers wander off the “beaten path” and help small entrepreneurs at the same time.

It’s called “People First Tourism.”  Duarte Morais is an Associate Professor of Equitable and Sustainable Tourism at NC State.  He is also the CEO of "People First Tourism."  He says money can be made by providing authentic experiences for visitors.

“For tourism to really benefit local communities there should be a lot of locals involved in tourism as small business owners," said Morais.

Richard Foster / Flickr Creative Commons

A study from NC State University found that more than 40 percent of young American adults have moved away from home, but they aren't financially self-reliant.

The Carolina Theatre today
Josh Hofer / The Carolina Theatre

The Carolina Theatre of Durham has been celebrating record attendance and revenue—up 42% in the past two years—from $3.5 million to $5 million.

But theater administrators revealed yesterday that because of accounting "errors and omissions," they are actually more than $1 million dollars in debt.

The theater receives an annual $650,000 subsidy from the city of Durham, and City Manager Tom Bonfield is trying to understand the magnitude of the problem.

Housing
Leoneda Inge

The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates today but experts say that’s unlikely to slow down the real estate boom in the Triangle. Most of the action is in Wake County, especially in Fuquay-Varina and Morrisville. 

Efforts are underway to restore oyster populations, while mariculture looks at sustainable farming practices.
Baxter Miller / Bit & Grain

From clams to catfish, the North Carolina coast holds a variety of seafood, but at a crossroads is the oyster. The supply of oysters in the state has decreased since the industry peaked in 1902 after decades of aggressive harvesting.

Today, efforts are underway to restore wild oyster reefs while mariculture looks to provide a sustainable and abundant farming strategy.

Operator work on infusion pharmaceutical industry
xmagics / Dollarphotoclub.com

Vance County no longer has the strong economic based it used to have in textile manufacturing.  Today, it’s becoming more and more clear one of the best workforce opportunities for workers here is in advanced manufacturing.  But like many in rural communities, Vance County residents will likely have to leave home for these jobs.

A picture of a poultry house.
Joe Valbuena / USDA

A worker at a Perdue Farms contract poultry operation in Richmond County has been arrested and charged with four counts of felony animal abuse. An advocacy group's undercover video showed workers kicking the birds like footballs and spinning them by their heads to break their necks.

Jobs
Thinglass / Shutterstock.com

There’s good news on the jobs front for 2016.  That’s according to the latest Duke University – CFO Global Business Outlook Survey.

Chief Financial Officers say they expect to increase hiring by about 2.4 percent in the New Year.  And wages should jump almost 3 percent.

But John Graham, a Finance Professor at Duke and director of the survey, says CFOs still struggle with finding qualified employees.

An American Airlines Boeing 777-200 from London-Gatwick landing at RDU in 2005.
Ken Thomas / Wikipedia

Officials at Raleigh Durham International Airport say coming infrastructure upgrades will not interfere with plans for a direct flight to Paris.

Perils And Promise, Rural Education, Vance Public Schools
Leoneda Inge

Like many rural counties, Vance County is not bustling with manufacturing jobs anymore.

In fact, the largest employer in Vance County is the school district.  Its main offices sit in the former textile headquarters of Henderson and Harriett Mills, a testament to the changing economy.  

In our series Perils & Promise: Educating North Carolina’s Rural Students, we follow a group of 10th graders to their first career fair.

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