Business & Economy

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.

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 / WUNC

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.

christmas tree farm
Wikipedia Creative Commons

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the biggest of the year for Christmas tree sales. And there’s a good chance many of the trees bought this weekend will come from North Carolina.

Cash
401(K) 2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent Assets and Opportunities scorecard released by the Corporation for Enterprise Development shows North Carolina lagging behind other states in providing a stable financial landscape for asset building and growth.

The scorecard examined 67 factors in areas of healthcare, wealth building and financial opportunities. The shortcomings are even worse for the state's minority citizens.

Komodo Food truck at the LA Street Food Fest
Ricardo Diaz / Flickr

Raleigh might soon see more food trucks on the streets.  The city council will hear about a pilot program tonight that would allow the trucks to set-up along some curb sides in the city.  Right now they're limited to private property and special events. 

Mary-Ann Baldwin chairs the council's Law and Public Safety Committee which drafted the program.  

"Food trucks really do create community and in areas where there are no restaurants, it serves as a gathering spot for people and a place for folks to, you know, get to know each other," Baldwin says.

A picture of a folded wad of cash.
401kcalculator.org / Flickr

Wake County Commissioners voted yesterday to raise the pay floor for county employees to $13.50 per-hour.

An illustration of the plaza outside the proposed Union Station.
raleighnc.gov

A shortage of skilled laborers and rising costs of materials is pushing Raleigh's proposed downtown train station over its $44.7 million budget.

Richard Kelly, Raleigh's interim public works director, said despite combing through budget items and weeding out high bids, the project is going to cost another $10 million to complete.

A picture of PNC Arena.
Alexisrael / Wikipedia

Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes and NC State's men's basketball team could soon have new places to grill before a game or clink glasses after a victory.

Tom McCormick, chairman of the state-appointed Centennial Authority that oversees PNC Arena, said they are planning for major renovations.

"We're 15 years old now, starting into our 16th year. And like everything else, it's always good to freshen up," he said.

PNC Arena's multi-million dollar face lift could include a rooftop patio and space for luxury tailgating.  

The Core design.
UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill and the Town of Chapel Hill will break ground on the new Carolina Square project today. The mixed-use project will replace the demolished University Square shops and offices on Franklin St.

Carolina Square will have shops, apartments, office space, and a performing arts center.

Oscar Wong started Highland Brewing Company in Asheville in 1994 and passed along the business to his daughter, Leah Wong Ashburn.
Carrie Turner / Carrie Turner Photography

Leah Wong Ashburn has been around beer all her life.

Her father Oscar Wong is considered the "godfather" of craft beer culture in western North Carolina. In 1994, he founded Highland Brewing Company, the first legal brewer in Asheville since Prohibition. Today, Highland is the largest homegrown craft brewery in North Carolina.

Produce, Shopping, Grocery Stores
www.usda.gov

The main principle of a cooperative organization is to give ownership to the people who use its services. Every member has a say in how the business is run and shares the profits.

But for African-American communities in the United States, cooperative economics have also historically been a method of survival. 

An image of a handshake on an isolated business background
SalFalko / Flickr Creative Commons

Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County leaders are in informal talks about creating a united economic development partnership.

Guilford County Commission chairman Hank Henning says this proposed Guilford County Economic Development Alliance would coordinate to promote the county and its cities as a business destination.

Chuck Liddy / News and Observer

It is the responsibility of the N.C. Department of Labor to protect the rights of workers.

But a new report from the News & Observer finds that state investigators for the department did not collect $1 million in wages that were owed to 617 workers in 2014.

Food Bank, Food Lion
Leoneda Inge

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina will soon be able to deliver food to the needy with its new mobile food pantry.

Food Lion donated the truck.  President Meg Ham says many families in need don’t have the transportation to get to a food distribution center.

Flat screen TVs are one of the reasons for the decreasing size of furniture. Many people opt to mount them on the wall, which eliminates the need for an entertainment center.
Jeremy Levine / Flickr Creative Commons

For more than 100 years, the High Point Market has offered furniture and home furnishings to buyers from across the state. Today, the market is the world’s largest furniture trade show.

The furniture industry has been an economic boon for the Triad and it continues to adapt to new needs as the next generation starts to settle down and buy furniture.

A picture of a modern stone mason at work.
Vladimer Shioshvili / Wikipedia

As the demand for construction has started to rebound, there's a shortage of qualified craft workers.

Associated General Contractors of America says 86 percent of general contractors in North Carolina say they can't fine enough plumbers, masons, carpenters and concrete workers. That's in line with the national rate.

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