Business & Economy

The Oakwood Inn Bed and Breakfast in downtown Raleigh
Jorge Valencia

Raleigh council members are continuing to debate how to manage the growing number of homes whose owners are listing on sites such as airbnb.com for short term rentals.
 

In a report he presented at a council meeting Tuesday, Raleigh Planning Director Travis Crane said the rental listings could represent additional income for property owners and the city, but can generate additional traffic and a parking crunch in residential areas.

Pisgah View Association President Iindia Pearson and Hillcrest resident Olufemi Lewis talk to members of a new group advocating for the interests of public housing residents in Asheville, which has the largest public housing agency in Western NC.
Matt Rose/Carolina Public Press

  

Public housing residents in Asheville are raising concerns with the city's housing authority because of a recent rise in evictions. 

Marbles Kids Museum
the museum

It's getting crowded at Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh.

Sally Edwards is president of the private not-for-profit. She says the museum built to accommodate 175,000 visitors a year, but now hosts 450,000.

“There are days that there are more people at the museum playing than the museum was designed to accommodate. So we really look forward to the opportunity to identify ways where we can expand, so the visitors who want to come and play and learn at Marbles have more room to spread out while they're here.”

NACo Tracker
www.naco.org

A new report shows counties across the US and the state have shown economic progress, but recovery is sluggish.

The National Association of Counties’ interactive map shows economic recovery state by state and county by county.

Only about 20 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have somewhat recovered since the recession.

NC State Economist Mike Walden says it’s no surprise counties like Wake, Durham and Mecklenburg are on the list.

A picture of a pack of Newport cigarettes.
Officer / Wikipedia

Reynolds American and the Lorillard Tobacco Company are expected to approve a $27.4 billion buyout at shareholders' meetings later this month. The move is part of a new generation of smoking where rolled cigarettes are giving way to e-cigarettes, raising the question of whether tobacco will actually be a part of Tobacco Road in the future. Host Frank Stasio talks with Richard Craver, reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal, and Andrew Brod, economics professor at UNC-Greensboro, about the evolution of the tobacco industry in North Carolina.

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

The North Carolina legislature is back in session this week.  The Republican-led body is touting a strong economy and an unemployment rate that hasn’t been this low since the start of the Great Recession.

So, bust out the Moscato! The unemployment rate in North Carolina is 5.8 percent.  Governor Pat McCrory says it hasn’t been that low since 2008.

DPS Custodians
Leoneda Inge

Dozens of Durham Public Schools custodial workers rallied outside school district offices Friday, hoping they’ll get their back wages soon. Workers carried signs reading, "DPS, Clean This Up!"

More than 140 custodians at big schools like Jordan and Hillside High Schools are still due two paychecks that were supposed to come before the holidays.

Durham Public Schools contracts out custodial services.  But when sub-contractor, Integrity Facilities Management filed for bankruptcy, workers were not paid.  

resume and glasses
Flazingo Photos / Flickr/Creative Commons

The state Commerce Department is behind a major jump in the number of weekly job searches claimants must have to collect benefits.

Dale Folwell is Assistant Commerce Secretary for Employment Security and he supports increasing weekly documented job searches from two to five.

“So we think this will increase the velocity of people getting off the unemployment rolls and looking for work," said Folwell.

Folwell says the current system was confusing for some people.  He says his office decided to cut the confusion and add searches at the same time.

The head of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is speaking out in support of expanding Medicaid in the state.

Brad Wilson is President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

“As business leaders of North Carolina, you need to help us craft a solution to expand Medicaid," said Wilson.

Wilson tossed out that charge during this week’s Economic Forecast Forum in Research Triangle Park, sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. 

Economic Forecast
www.cedbr.org

Business, banking and community leaders packed the Sheraton Imperial Hotel Monday in Research Triangle Park for this year’s annual Economic Forecast Forum. It's sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

Economic experts seem to be on the same page when it comes to forecasting the state’s economy in 2015.   Expectations are high.

Economic Forecast
www.ncbankers.org

All economic indicators show continued growth across North Carolina in 2015.

Mike Walden is the William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Extension Economist at NC State.  He predicts payroll job growth across the state could top 125,000 jobs in 2015 – that's a lot more growth than in 2014. 

Walden says the economy has finally began to “hit a stride” with modest housing recovery and labor market improvements.

taxi
Daniel Horacio Agostini via Flickr

A Raleigh taxi driver is claiming that some cab drivers could go on strike this New Year’s Eve to protest what they consider to be unfair competition from ride-sharing companies.  

They argue that web-based services like Uber and Lyft undercut taxi cab drivers because they are not subject to the same registration, licensing and insurance regulations as traditional taxis.

Fresh Market
Leoneda Inge

There is a fresh food movement underway and the competition is getting tasty!

One of the most dominant and well-known fresh food grocery store brands in the country is Whole Foods.  It’s in the middle of building 1,000 new stores.

But it’s not the only trendy grocery store snapping up real estate in the Triangle.

Steve Schemm enjoys showing off The Fresh Market that opened just this month on University Drive in Durham, from the poinsettias near the front door to the meat market.

Scuppernong Books is Greensboro's independent bookstore. They are part of a revitalization in downtown and hope to be place where conversations happen.
http://www.scuppernongbooks.com/

The obituary for the independent bookstore has been written many times, but the digital revolution has created a niche and a desire to hold something real in your hands when you read. 

The bank robber is described as a light-skinned black male, approximately 20-35 years of age with a medium build.
FBI

The Charlotte Division of the FBI has been on the lookout for a bank robber who has operated in Wake, Nash, and Franklin Counties. The suspect is known as the "Eyes Only Bandit" because in each case, the robber wore a hooded jacket and gloves and covered his face with a mask, leaving only his eyes visible.

The "Eyes Only Bandit" struck these banks:

Michael J. Rosenburg, CEO of Health Decisions in Durham.
Health Decisions

Multiple outlets are reporting Triangle doctor Michael J. Rosenberg is among the six victims of a plane crash in Maryland on Monday.

The plane was registered to Sage Aviation, of Chapel Hill, which is owned by Rosenberg. Rosenberg is the CEO of Health Decisions, a pharmaceutical company in Durham. Triangle Business Journal named him a 2013 Health Care Hero:

One of RTP's smaller businesses, AgBiome, does work with stinkbugs.
Patrick Coin / Flickr/Creative Commons

The largest research park in North America sits in the middle of North Carolina.  And this week, one of Research Triangle Parks' largest tenants – GlaxoSmithKline – announced it’s laying off 900 employees.

The trend over the past decade shows a major shift away from relying on big multi-national companies with sprawling campuses in favor of smaller operations.

Fury
carowinds.com

Parts of the Fury-325 rollercoaster stand 20-feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. It took 400 trucks to haul the pieces to Carowinds in Charlotte, NC, and the critical "hill" was completed this week.

When the coaster opens this spring it will be the tallest and fastest of its kind in the world, reaching speeds of an astonishing 95 mph. What will the ride be like? Take a look:

GlaxoSmithKline
GlaxoSmithKline

    

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline eliminated 900 jobs yesterday.

Image of GlaxoSmithKline headquarters in west London.
Flickr/Ian Wilson

    

Pharmaceutical player GlaxoSmithKline is laying off hundreds of workers in its American facilities, and the bulk of these job cuts are in Research Triangle Park.

Pittsboro, NC mayor Bill Terry at Chatham Park groundbreaking.
Chatham EDC via Twitter

Construction of the 7,000+ acre development that plans to greatly expand the size and population of Pittsboro began this week with a UNC Health Care facility.

Developers announced the groundbreaking Tuesday. The 25,000 square-foot medical plaza is the first building to go up in Chatham Park. While UNC hasn't said what services the building will provide specifically, it's expected to house specialists.

Pat Nathan

  

As a chemist in the 1970s, Pat Nathan was quite often the only woman in the room.

She remained one of the only women in the room as she rose through the rankings at the Dell computer company during the dot-com bubble. She entered the industry at a time when it was grappling with how to dispose of computer waste responsibly.

Frost design
RachelEllen via Flickr/Creative Commons

Forecasters are predicting another cold winter. 

The North Carolina Division of Social Services is accepting applications for the state's Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

Director Wayne Black says it's meant to help seniors, veterans and people with disabilities pay their heating bills.

“Demand is there every year for these programs, and we expect that to be the same this coming years as well,” Black said. “Obviously, how cold the winter is would have some impact as well in terms of persons coming in.”

North Carolina will be missing out on $51 billion from Mediciad because they chose not to expand coverage.
http://eofdreams.com/money.html

A new report from the Secretary of State’s office shows charitable giving in North Carolina is drastically down. 

Latest numbers show giving at nearly $21.5 million dollars.  That’s down by more than $10 million dollars from the year before.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall says she’s not surprised the economy continues to have an effect on donations to charities and non-profits.  But she is disappointed solicitors are hauling in a bigger chunk of the money.

Chatham Park
Sasaki Associates

The developers of the 7,000 acre Chatham Park project have submitted a rezoning request to the town of Pittsboro, NC. Months after the initial zoning approval, the developers have acquired a few tracts of land that add up to about 45 news acres.

According to Tim Smith of Preston Development, every time they add new land to the project, the whole lot will need to go through a rezoning process. He says this does not put the project on hold, because it can continue to operate under the old zoning until the zoning is confirmed.

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