Business & Economy

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources has released a new study showing growth in recycling-related jobs in the state. Private sector jobs in the recycling industry have increased by about 5 percent since 2008 according to the study. Sherry Yarkosky with the state Recycling Business Assistance Center says the study reinforces that recycling helps not just the environment.

An Electric Marriage

Jan 10, 2011

A surprising but not shocking marriage was announced in North Carolina today.  Two – well branded utility companies – decided to get hitched. And if regulators approve the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy – the union will form the largest utility company in America.

Duke Energy and Progress Energy officials announced today they are merging their companies. Duke Energy will be the name of the combined company. Its headquarters will be in Charlotte and it will become the largest utility in the country. Progress Energy C-E-O William Johnson will be the new Duke Energy leader. He says the merger is good for North Carolina:

Officials at Appalachian State University are planning to sell beer brewed in the chemistry department. Faculty and students began a class on fermentation last spring. But current rules prohibit selling the fruits of their labor.

Brett Taubman is an assistant professor of chemistry at ASU and a home brewer:

Latest numbers show – the North Carolina unemployment rate has increased in every corner of the state.

Wells Fargo Economist Mark Vitner
NC Chamber of Commerce

National and state economies are expected to improve in 2011 – but by only just a little bit.

Yesterday’s Economic Forecast Forum in Research Triangle Park was about telling the hard truth.  Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner:

"We’re still on a path that we’re seeing extremely modest job growth."


Billie Redmond is trying to stay optimistic.   She’s the CEO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Trademark Properties in Raleigh.

More than one thousand people are gathering in Research Triangle Park today to hear the latest news on the 2011 economy. Economists are already saying it should be better than 2010.

  One big draw at this year’s Economic Forecast Forum is outgoing U-N-C president Erskine Bowles – who is also known for serving as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.  Thad Woodard is President and C-E-O of the North Carolina Bankers Association.  He says Economist Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo will give the forecast:

Drivers in North Carolina are paying more for gas than they have in the past two years. Average gasoline prices have topped 3 dollars per gallon according to Triple A. Tom Crosby is with Triple A Carolinas.

"Prices are going up, mostly because of the poor economy, the weak dollar. Our weak dollar is causing investments in Euros in crude oil. Crude oil is selling for over 90 dollars a barrel, which, that’s the first time it’s been that high in two years. When crude oil prices go up, the oil companies raise prices at the pump."

Drive-By Art

Dec 29, 2010

The department of transportation’s Wildflower Project has received much praise over the years. North Carolina DOT officials say they hope their new arts policy for state highways and byways will also get a lot of attention.

Some arts projects already in place include the metal leaves on the pedestrian bridge in Cary spanning US 1-64 and the mural under I-240 in Asheville. 

Don Lee is the State Roadside Environmental Engineer for DOT.  Lee says the new policy will help guide the placement of public art.  He says North Carolina has a good track record:

More than a century ago, North Carolina was well known for being the country's largest wine producer in the nation. Prohibition eventually closed down most of that industry, leaving a few producers who made sweet wines from muscadine grapes. But in recent years, producers of red and white European-style wines have sprung up all over the Tar Heel state. Over the last five years, the number of wineries across North Carolina has doubled to nearly one hundred.

State Jobless Rate Up

Dec 17, 2010

New numbers out today paint a struggling jobs picture for the state of North Carolina.

 North Carolina lost more jobs in November than any other state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the state lost 12-thousand 500 jobs.

That may explain why the state’s unemployment rate crept up by a tenth of a percent to 9-point-7 percent in November.

America has not reached the peak of the foreclosure crisis. But a survey by Fannie Mae says that hasn’t hampered people’s dreams of home ownership.

North Carolina is among the ten states hit hardest by foreclosures this year - up there with Florida, California and Ohio.  Doug Duncan is Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae – the Federal National Mortgage Association.  He says their 2010 Own-Rent Analysis says no matter the person’s race, geographic region or income –aspirations of home ownership are strong.

CFOs More Optimistic

Dec 15, 2010

Chief Financial Officers say they are a lot more optimistic about the economy in this last quarter of 2010 than they were just a few months ago.

More than 800 CFOs from across the country – representing public and private companies – were surveyed by Duke University and CFO Magazine. 

Kate O’Sullivan is Senior Editor at CFO Magazine.  She says 50-percent of the CFOs surveyed say their companies plan on spending money in the new year on everything from research and development to full-time hiring.

More Uninsured In Bad Economy

Dec 15, 2010
NC Institute of Medicine
NC Institute of Medicine

The number of people who lack health insurance has been climbing in the wake of the economic downturn. That's according to an new analysis by the state Institute of Medicine.

The US Labor Department is suing one of the country’s biggest food distributors for discrimination at its Lumberton facility.  

Sweepstakes Parlors Get Reprieve

Dec 3, 2010
Laura Leslie

The doors will stay open at some video sweepstakes parlors, despite a new state law that took effect this week.

The new ban covers gambling-style games, like keno and slots, as well as any other game that uses a - quote - "entertaining display" to reveal sweepstakes results. A Guilford County judge ruled that last part of the new law is unconstitutionally broad, while a Wake County judge ruled it is constitutional.

Black Friday Lures Reluctant Shoppers

Nov 26, 2010

North Carolina shoppers swarmed shopping centers early this morning to take advantage of Black Friday sales.  No official numbers are available yet, but anecdotal reports say the lines were a little longer than they were last year.  Deep discounts on toys and electronics brought out Black Friday regulars, as well as some first-timers like Cindy Ratkovich. She doesn't usually take part in the early-morning Black Friday madness:

This long holiday shopping weekend is expected to out pace last year. And that includes online shopping.  Scot Wingo likes to track what is called – Cyber Monday – how much money online shoppers spend during the holiday weekend.  Wingo is C-E-O of Channel Advisor. The Morrisville-based company works with over three-thousand online retailers on how to be more efficient and make more money.

Wingo expects double digit online shopping growth:

Love And Gasoline

Sep 19, 2008

Love may make the world go around, but sometimes it may need a little gasoline to keep it going. North Carolina Public Radio asked listeners how the year's dramatic rise in gasoline prices has affected their personal lives.

NC Voices: Growth & Transportation

Feb 29, 2008

As Wake county grows, more and more major transit arteries are slowing to a crawl. Some say the answer is more roads. Others say it’s fewer cars. And Triangle commuters are literally stuck in the middle.

NC Voices: Growth & Transportation

Feb 28, 2008

As a part of our ongoing coverage of Growth and Sustainability -- this week on Morning Edition we're featuring a North Carolina Voices series on Transportation. One form of transit stands out for it’s energy efficiency, health benefits and fun – that’s people-powered transportation. But in the Triangle, that can be tough. It’s a place that’s been built primarily for cars -- and many bikers says it’s just too dangerous to consider getting to work on two wheels or feet.

A newly proposed mass transit plan for the Triangle could link Chapel Hill to North Raleigh by bus and rail as early as 2020. It’s the suggestion of a 29 member regional organization called the Special Transit Advisory Group. As it stands right now, the proposal would greatly expand local and regional bus service, and add some form of rail transit later on.

Raleigh is growing. That statement is not news to anyone who's tried to get across town at rush hour. More people often does mean more traffic and longer commutes. As a part of our on-going coverage of growth and sustainability -- today we begin a North Carolina Voices series that looks at how the Triangle area will meet the transportation needs of a rapidly growing population. We begin with Eric Hodge's conversation with Mitchell Silver, the Director of Planning for the City of Raleigh.

The fight between Smithfield and the United Food and Commercial Workers over unionizing the Tar Heel hog processing plant has entered a new phase. A federal judge in Virginia has allowed a lawsuit filed by Smithfield to go forward.

The suit accuses the UFCW of a coordinated public smear campaign.  It uses the RICO statutes that were created to fight organized crime. The lawsuit is the latest step in a confrontation that has slowly been moving out of the plant itself and into the kitchens and living rooms of consumers.

Many workers at the Smithfield hog processing plant in Tar Heel North Carolina continue to speak-out about what they call "bad" work conditions. But yesterday instead of just speaking-out – hundreds of workers walked out.

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