Business & Economy

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.

A leading Smart Growth advocate is visiting the Triangle today to speak on lessons in “Livability” for the 21st Century.  Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland says he’s impressed with urban revitalization projects like the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham.  But he says planners and politicians are running out of time if they want to develop mass transit to maintain the Triangle’s current quality of life.

NC Conference Addresses Childhood Hunger

Jan 19, 2012

State leaders and advocates against child hunger are gathering in Raleigh today for a conference to collaborate on ways to address the problem.

Leoneda Inge:  People will come from across the state from faith-based organizations, food banks and more to attend the “No Kid Hungry North Carolina Childhood Hunger Conference.”  Tamara Baker is the program manager for No Kid Hungry North Carolina.  She says childhood hunger is on the rise because more families are short on resources.

The city of Raleigh, NC State University, and private companies are holding a one-day Innovation Summit today. Their goal is to enhance the capitol city’s reputation as a place for tech startups.

A group of Raleigh area business owners are in Washington D-C today for a roundtable discussion with White House officials.

It could be six months before the Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger is complete.

Lawmakers from North Carolina and Virginia met earlier today in Richmond to plan out the future of a high-speed rail corridor that would link Raleigh to Washington. The meeting was largely symbolic.

Dave DeWitt: High-speed rail is essentially derailed, thanks to last year’s federal budget deal that zeroed out funding in 2012. Some money is still left over from previous grants, but it’s a small percentage of what is needed to make a high-speed train a reality.

Better incentives for economic development are one way to tackle North Carolina's high unemployment rate. That's according to the non-profit North Carolina Budget & Tax Center. Report author Allan Freyer says the state should change how it attracts companies.

Two minority banking institutions in Durham have just received big financial investments from the Democratic National Convention Committee.

Leoneda Inge:  Yesterday, Steve Kerrigan, head of the DNC Committee, officially invested 4-million-dollars in convention funds in the Latino Community Credit Union and Mechanics and Farmers Bank.

Steve Kerrigan:  We hope that Mechanics and Farmers and LCCU use these resources to do what they do best which is to invest in the community.

The city of Raleigh is now requiring public and private groups pay a registration fee to operate group housing, including emergency housing and housing for those with disabilities.

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