Business & Economy

Butterball, Turkey
Butterball.com

There was a time when Raeford, North Carolina was synonymous with the House of Raeford turkey processing company.  Now there's another big name turkey processor in town.

Butterball announced this week it’s buying the turkey "further" processing facility once owned by the House of Raeford.  The family-owned House of Raeford got out of the turkey business last year.

Buhler Aeroglide
Leoneda Inge

US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez was in Cary this week pushing the government’s new $100 million Apprenticeship Grants program.

Secretary Perez stopped by Buhler Aeroglide.  It makes large conveyor dryers for companies like Kellogg’s.  He praised Buhler for being a worldwide leader in training and hiring apprentices.

The North Carolina School for Science and Math was a finalist for Spaces for Innovation Challenge at the Emerging Issues Forum.
Ildar Sagdejev

Innovation is thriving across the state of North Carolina and communities are becoming more intentional about providing spaces that nurture creative thinking.

Image of bookstore
Flickr/ Chris Alcoran

    

The digital age sparked a public discourse about the fate of the independent bookstore. 

Commercial giants like Barnes & Noble and Amazon loom large, but the American Booksellers Association (ABA) says the tides may be turning. They report that more than 400 new independent bookstores have popped up around the country since 2009. 

The ABA hosts its 10th winter institute in Asheville this week, featuring publishers, authors and booksellers from around the country. 

Janet Cowell
nctreasurer.com

North Carolina’s 2015 Debt Affordability Study shows the state is ready to begin issuing debt again and making big investments.

State Treasurer Janet Cowell says the Debt Affordability Study shows the General Fund has the capacity to take on $700 million a year and Transportation debt capacity is $1 billion.

Protesters crowd the capitol for a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

A report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks North Carolina at the bottom nationally for labor union membership. 1.9 percent of workers in the state were in unions last year. That's down from 3 percent.

That doesn't surprise James Andrews, the president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO.

Andrews says North Carolina is a "right to work" state which doesn't give unions much clout, so they don't invest much organizing energy or money here.

Google Fiber
Leoneda Inge

The next cities to benefit from ultra-high-speed internet service will be in the southern United States.  Google Fiber announced yesterday it is bringing its super-fast access to Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte and to the Raleigh-Durham area in the Triangle.

There have been rumors for weeks Google was about to make a big announcement. Michael Slinger, Director of Business Operations for Google Fiber made it official.

The Housecleaner Project

In the last two decades, international migration to North Carolina has increased dramatically and more than half of the state’s foreign-born population is Latino. 

Symposium on social entrepreneurship and civic engagement poster.
Duke University

A Duke University symposium is encouraging students to use entrepreneurial skills to give back to the world.

Leaders from several organizations will talk about social entrepreneurship and civic engagement at the campus today. 

Megan Granda directs Duke's Office of Civic Engagement.  She says two freshman pre-med-students serve as a good example.  They teamed up with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Millennials
Kenan Flagler Blog

A new survey by Duke University and CFO Magazine shows the millennial generation may not be having an easy time in the workplace.

Millennials – those age 35 and younger – are known for their technological and creative advantages in the workplace.

But Duke Finance Professor John Graham says 53-percent of CFOs say millennials tend to be less loyal to the company and 46-percent say they exhibit an attitude of entitlement.

The 'Old Well' UNC-Chapel HIll
Caroline Culler / Wikipedia

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees has moved forward with plans to create its own venture fund for start-ups.

The Carolina Research Venture Fund will begin with $5 million, from investment earnings on non-state funds.

UNC-Chapel Hill Trustee Sallie Shuping-Russell says they had to step up because the industry is not flowing with dollars right now.

The Great Recession hobbled the U.S. economy and crushed many businesses, but some companies thrived, including the so-called "dollar" stores.

Shoppers flocked to them because you could buy a lot with not much money. And as the economy rebounds, people are still going to some. But one chain, Family Dollar, hasn't kept pace with its competitors.

a handshake
danyrolux via Flickr/Creative Commons

State leaders in economic development circles are gathering Thursday for the grand opening of the new Economic Development Partnership offices in Cary.

The new Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina is basically a new privatized business recruitment agency.

About 34 people in sales and marketing, along with travel and tourism moved from the state Commerce Department to the new partnership.  They worked in sales and marketing, international trade, film and tourism.

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.

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