Business & Economy

A picture of a boy and a steer.
Green N' Growing collection / North Carolina State University Libraries

Employees from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension will travel from across the state to Raleigh today and tomorrow to celebrate the organization's 100th anniversary.

The Cooperative Extension is based out of North Carolina State University and NC A&T State University. Their personnel work in every county to connect farmers with new research and technology. But the organization, which runs 4-H, is also invested in helping families in general.

Sheri Schwab is an associate director of the Cooperative Extension at NC State.

NC Workforce Solutions
NC Division of Workforce Solutions

The state Commerce Department has spent the past year making cuts and re-aligning its Division of Workforce Solutions.  Today, administrators say the results are positive.

One initiative getting a lot of attention is NC Works, an online portal developed to better connect the jobless with jobs.

Will Collins is the Executive Director of NC Works.  He's been on the job for six months and likes what he sees.

Janet Cowell
nctreasurer.com

State Treasurer Janet Cowell is meeting with legislators this short session to push her proposed pension investment reforms.  But the reforms don’t include who runs the pension fund. 

This is what Treasurer Janet Cowell says she’s been hearing in the state senate.

“Because some people say if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

Cowell says in the short session, she’s pushing for an independent audit and greater transparency, but talk of moving the $86 billion pension fund from a sole fiduciary investment system to a board-of-trustee model should wait until next year.

A picture of a chair in front of a pile of garbage.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

The Raleigh City Council wants to reduce the amount of garbage it sends to a landfill in Southern Wake County.

Raleigh pays about $33 for each ton of garbage it buries, but the city can make $30 on each ton it recycles. This morning, Raleigh's Solid waste director is presenting a list of options to increase recycling. One company in town, WasteZero, says it has the best option.

Packing The Trash Into The Landfill: How Trash Is Handled Now

A beach near Wilmington, NC.
libby via flickr, Creative Commons

New figures are out on the impact of North Carolina's tourism industry.  According to a national survey by the U.S. Travel Association, there were 52.5 million visitors to North Carolina last year. They spent about 4 percent more in 2013 than they did the year before - setting an all-time spending record.

"It's the only sector that gained back all the jobs it lost during the recession," said Wit Tuttell, head of the state's Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development. 

Assorted pharmaceuticals
creative commons

    

A recent deal between the biopharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis may mean more jobs and more attention for the Research Triangle. Plus, the $1.1 billion sale of Furiex pharmaceuticals increases possibilities for investment in the area. Meanwhile, Mooresville's Vestiq Holdings, a much smaller pharmaceutical company, is filing for bankruptcy. 

SEUS NC
Leoneda Inge

The business-to-business matchmaking continues today at the Raleigh Convention Center where the leaders from southern states and regions of Canada will try to make deals.

It’s the first time the Southeastern U-S Canadian Provinces Alliance or, "SEUS CP," has met in North Carolina.  

The kick-off to the conference had fingers snapping and heads rocking as musicians jazzed up the meeting room, welcoming dignitaries to the conference.

US-Canadian Provinces Alliance Logo
US-Canadian Provinces Business Alliance

Governors and business leaders from the Southeastern U.S. are in Raleigh today to talk trade and investment opportunities with leaders from Canada. 

Despite what you hear about China and Germany – Canada is North Carolina’s number one trading partner with one quarter of all the state’s exports going to that country.

Jean Davis is Director of International Trade for the state Commerce Department.

“You know Canada is such a strong trading partner, that it is often times where we start with our companies," said Davis.

A picture of the Red Hat logo.
Red Hat

Leaders at Raleigh-based company developer Red Hat say the purchase of a California-based business will greatly boost its software storage capacity.  

Red Hat spent $175 million  to buy Inktank -- a open-source software storage provider.  The transaction is expected to be finalized later this month.  

Fingers on a keyboard, computer,
Wikimedia Commons

Numbers from the state Commerce Department show the unemployment rate fell all across the state during the past year.  But analysts say the economic recovery is still modest.

Who has the lowest unemployment in the state? Chatham and Orange Counties - 4.6 percent. 

Where is the highest jobless rate? Graham County - 12.7 percent.

While the jobless rate fell in all 100 counties, the number of people who reported having jobs decreased in about one-third of the counties.

A picture of a jar of cash marked 'retirement'.
TaxCredits.net, “Retirement” / Flickr

Baby Boomers have less financial security in retirement than their parents did. That's according to a PNC Financial survey.

The company recently surveyed about 1,200 adults across the country and found that half of retirees are worried about running out of money.

Kathy Kraeblen is a senior wealth advisor for PNC in Raleigh. She said previous generation had a combination of a pension, social security and better savings habits, and they didn't live as long. But, Kraeblin said, Boomers can still learn to budget and re-adjust their investments.

A picture of a calculator and a balance sheet.
Kenteegardin / Flickr

Banks, businesses and non-profits are joining forces to help North Carolianians take control of their money.

A report from the finance web site WalletHub found that the Tar Heel State ranks in the bottom-third nationally for financial literacy.

Jan Dillon is the director of the new North Carolina Center for Financial Literacy.  She said financial literacy is knowing the skills to live comfortably within one's means, like budgeting, saving and planning.

Host Frank Stasio and guests on the State of Things follow the trail of money.
RambergMediaImages / Flickr/Creative Commons

There's a good chance Treasurer Janet Cowell will give up sole control of the state pension fund.

A commission set up to review North Carolina’s Retirement Systems investment program has recommended the state shift how the pension fund is run.

The North Carolina Investment Fiduciary Governance Commission recommends the state move from a sole fiduciary investment system to a model governed by a board of trustees.

Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook
Tupelo Honey Cafe

Southern food is a popular cuisine in many foodie circles. But an Asheville restaurant seeks to highlight a subgenre of Southern food: Appalachian cuisine. Chef Brian Sonokus of Tupelo Honey Café and co-author Elizabeth Sims demonstrate the versatility of Appalachian cuisine in their new book, Tupelo Honey Café: New Southern Flavors From The Blue Ridge Mountains. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sonokus and Sims about the expansion of Tupelo Honey Café and their new book. 

SwitchPoint 2013
SwitchPoint

There's a fascinating conference happening Thursday and Friday at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. It's called SwitchPoint. This is the conference for you if you're interested in things like using technology for good, social entrepreneurship and creativity/design.

The attendees are the kind of people who are doing the most interesting things in our society: printing 3-D organs, crowdsourcing crisis response via text, building medical devices out of broken toys.

GlaxoSmithKline
www.gsk.com

Big changes and asset swaps in the pharmaceutical world are happening this week, but the Triangle should be spared of any fall-out.

One of the big moves in this chess game includes Switzerland-based Novartis agreeing to spend up to $16 billion for GlaxoSmithKline’s cancer drug business in Pennsylvania.

Women at a meeting
creative commons

The number of female business-owners in the United States is strikingly low, but the number of couples going into business together is rising. However, a new study shows that when married women go into business with their husbands, they are less likely to maintain a leadership role. Howard Aldrich is a professor and chair of the sociology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

stack of money
Flickr user 401(K)2013

An Ohio-based financial services company claims North Carolina’s Pension Fund is one of the worst managed in the country. 

Benchmark Financial Services was hired by the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) to conduct a forensic investigation of the state pension fund.

Unemployment lines
Wikimedia

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest figures on the state’s unemployed. But do these numbers paint an accurate picture of the jobs economy in North Carolina?

Host Frank Stasio talks to Triangle Business Journal Reporter Jason deBruyn about the latest statistics and the ways to count the unemployed. His recent coverage includes:

A picture of a recycling cart
Cary

Starting today, residents of Cary can recycle even more waste materials.  In addition to soda bottles and milk jugs, Cary will accept bulky #2 HPDE plastic in its curbside recycling bins.

Solid Waste Division Manager Bob Holden said that includes old patio furniture, storage bins, and garbage cans.

“We listened to our citizens,” Holden said. “Our citizens wanted us to look for more ways to recycle more things. And working with our contractor, they found a domestic market that would accept these specific items to make paint cans out of them.”

A picture of Mitchell Silver.
City of Raleigh

Raleigh is bidding farewell to its planning director.

Mitchell Silver took the post in 2005, when Raleigh was a mid-sized city grappling with rapid population growth. Silver says the city was able to ride the wave by becoming an attractive place to live and work.  He cites changing density and zoning ordinances, building the Raleigh Convention Center, and revitalizing Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village as successes.

A map showing the hottest growth spots for immigrants in NC
NC Bankers Association

A new study is challenging the notion that low-paid immigrant populations are "taking" jobs from native North Carolinians.

  

While tax day can evoke feelings of anxiety and dread across the country, some North Carolina groups are using today’s deadline to start conversations about tax reform and filing issues in the state.

'Sunny Side Up' A picture of  a lifeguard chair
Creative Commons

The National Parks Service is trying to keep at least a few lifeguards on the Cape Hatteras Seashore this summer.

Federal officials cut the $200,000 program that staffed three beaches seven days a week during the summer.

Now, Outer Banks Group Superintendent Barclay Trimble said he wants lifeguard service contractors to offer bids that can accommodate a tighter budget.

Obama at Vacon
White House

Manufacturing jobs across the state are holding steady in some regions.  A report released Thursday takes a look at modern manufacturing and how it can help North Carolina thrive.

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) says the formula for creating a new manufacturing platform in the state is re-branding, networking and training youth, as young as possible.

Anita Brown-Graham is director of the Institute.  She says you can also let people know how much money they can make.

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