Business & Economy

Bank Of America To Face Shareholders, Protestors

May 8, 2012

Hundreds of protesters have pledged to descend on Bank of America's annual meeting in Charlotte tomorrow. 2011 was a rocky year for Bank of America. The bank fell from its perch as the nation's largest and weathered a series of public relations storms.

The state Agriculture Department is hosting its first Food Business Conference today in Alamance County. 

Thousands of North Carolina residents have been notified that their extended unemployment benefits will expire by the end of the week.

Leoneda Inge:  Notices were sent out to 17-thousand unemployed workers, informing them of the bad news.  The extended jobless benefits from the state kicked-in four years ago, during the recession.  But because of the steady drop in North Carolina’s unemployment rate, the extended benefits, or E-B trigger has stopped.  Larry Parker is a spokesman for the Commerce Department’s Division of Employment Security.

Durham and Orange county residents will get a closer look today and tomorrow at a proposed light rail transit plan.

More than 80 counties across North Carolina experienced a drop in their unemployment rates.  But communities in the eastern and western corners of the state did not fare as well.

Some minority owners of small businesses met with U.S. Senator Kay Hagan to chat about challenges they face and opportunities available to help them prosper. The North Carolina Democrat brought a member of the Small Business Administration to hear how owners are falling short in the marketplace. Leah Brown is president of medical research firm A10 Solutions in Cary. She says they try to compete for big-money contracts, but it is a challenge to find qualified workers

Hopes and plans for a thriving Elizabeth City Air Park have not panned out over the past year.  Businesses have not been able to create the jobs they promised in this economy.

More than a hundred coastal families displaced by Hurricane Irene faced a deadline yesterday to move out of mobile homes provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But North Carolina Emergency Management says all of them have been given a 30-day extension. Dawn Baldwin Gibson of the Pamlico County Disaster Recovery Coalition says many residents are still trying to get money for repairs from their insurance or mortgage companies.

There is another sign economic recovery is moving slower in North Carolina than in a lot of other states.   The rate of per capita income growth is among the smallest in the country.

Leoneda Inge:  The US Bureau of Economic Analysis says per capita income growth in North Carolina was 3.3-percent between 2010 and 2011.   The only states with a smaller income growth rate are Maine and Alaska.  Alexandra Sirota is Director of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center.  She says the state fared better three to four years ago.

Duke and Progress Energy have filed an updated merger plan with federal regulators.  The companies filed a “market power” mitigation plan they hope will move the process along.

The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the closure of an American Express call center in Greensboro.

A North Carolina business is calling on the U-S Senate to stop its partisan bickering and re-authorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

A two-day conference getting underway at North Carolina A&T State University will weigh how certain events affect the African-American psyche.

Jeff Tiberii: The Dialogue On Progressive Enlightenment Conference, or DOPE, will focus on higher education. The conference began three years ago as an outlet for social concerns within the African-American community. Brian Sims is an Assistant professor of Psychology at North Carolina A&T. He described the conference on the State of Things.

State officials are asking for public input as they prepare a statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan.

Jeff Tiberii: There are more than 3-thousand miles of existing bike routes in North Carolina. Officials at the Department of Transportation want to add better signage, as well as a useful website with maps of the trails. Julia Casadonte says the state last updated the plan 15 years ago. She notes the state's population has grown significantly during that time.

PNC Puts Name On Arena

Mar 15, 2012
Dave DeWitt

The last remnant of RBC Bank in the Triangle was removed earlier today. Governor Bev Perdue and others officially renamed the RBC Center the PNC Arena at a ceremony in Raleigh.

Dave DeWitt: Today, PNC officials and Governor Perdue were all smiles as the very last RBC sign came down, and a PNC Arena logo took its place. But tomorrow, the company is expected to start laying off employees in Raleigh and Rocky Mount – perhaps more than 600.

Governor Perdue says the job losses are a temporary setback.

Guilford County is suing some of the nation’s largest banks over forged mortgage documents.

Jeff Tiberii: Local officials want to put a stop to robo-signing. That’s the practice of third-party employees falsifying financial documents. It has been a national problem in the housing crisis. Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen found more than 45-hundred mortgages in Guilford County that appear to have been forged.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate has remained over 10-percent for the past year.   Despite the high rate, one sector continues to experience growth.

Another North Carolina furniture maker is facing financial trouble. Jessica Jones reports Linwood furniture of Davidson County has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

A global business outlook survey conducted by Duke University shows companies are beginning to hire again.

Leoneda Inge:  The quarterly Duke University, CFO Magazine Survey paints a much rosier jobs picture than in the past several quarters.  John Graham is a Finance professor at Duke and director of the survey.   He says Chief Financial Officers are optimistic in 2012.

A high-end furniture maker in Alamance County is going out of business.

Jeff Tiberii: Craftique has been making hand-crafted mahogany furniture since 1946. But the Mebane based store is no longer making enough money. President Craig Shoemaker says business is only 30-percent of what it was six years ago.

Craig Shoemaker: We tend to think we were among the top five quality manufacturers left in the country and would love to have gone on for a long period of time, but unfortunately the economics just aren't there for us to do it.

A community meeting will take place tonight to discuss the abrupt closing of the Y-W-C-A of the Greater Triangle.

Jeff Tiberii: In between the railroad tracks and the Mayo River rests a once vibrant building. The windows of this former Washington Mills factory have long since been bricked up and no one has worked inside for 13 years. On the back side of the building is a gaping hole, and on this cool winter afternoon, workers are dismantling what has become a symbolic eyesore.

Bill Morehead: It was the backbone of the community, while it was running. It kept people working; they made a living, a good living.

The unemployment rate for the northeast part of the state continues to top 10-percent. But at today’s “Northeast State of the Region” event, economic developers are expected to show there’s positive progress.

Leoneda Inge: Sixteen counties make up Northeast North Carolina. Vann Rogerson is president of the North Carolina Northeast Commission. He says there are several projects underway that will provide a brighter future for the region, like a major grant to connect communities through broadband.

Complementary Cuts

Feb 20, 2012

Today in Greensboro some job-seekers will get free hair care.

Caterpillar has decided to build its new plant in Georgia, instead of North Carolina.

The non-profit North Carolina Justice Center is trying to bring attention to sub-minimum wage workers this Valentine’s Day. Most of these workers are in food service relying on tips.

Economists and politicians say the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks is perfect for the job of overseeing the new national mortgage settlement, but they say it won’t be easy.

A Hong Kong based company is expanding in Greensboro.

The Obama administration says thousands of North Carolina families could benefit from a proposed home-refinancing program. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan came to Raleigh to tout the proposal. He told WUNC that ten percent of North Carolina homeowners owe more on their home than the home is worth and the national average is twice that.

Jeff Tiberii

A first-of-its-kind meat processing center has opened in Western North Carolina. The Foothills Pilot Plant is a non-profit operation designed to help small farmers and impact the local food movement.

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