Business & Economy

Pat McCrory spoke about his 25-year plan for Transportation at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem on Wednesday.
Jeff Tiberii

Governor Pat McCrory wants the state legislature to approve more than $1 billion in bonds as part of his long-term transportation plan. Money from that bond measure would fund road, rail, port and airport projects across the state. He plans to ask the General Assembly to borrow more than one billion dollars in January, to fund parts of 21 projects.

American Underground

Start-up companies and entrepreneurs housed at The American Underground in Durham and Raleigh will now also have access to free work space in Silicon Valley.

Jim Whitehurst is President and CEO of Red Hat.  His company is teaming up with The American Underground to offer the space.

Corey Harris
Leoneda Inge

A report released this week by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development shows start-up companies across North Carolina are raising bigger rounds of funding.

One company out of Greensboro, raised $1 million in its first seven months.

Many of these new companies are in Raleigh for the CED Tech Venture Conference.

Some 80 start-up companies were invited to this year’s CED Tech Venture Conference, spreading out their trinkets, candy and ink pens in two large demo rooms.

Emmanuel Johnson worked as a teen reporter during the summer of 2014 at WUNC.
Carol Jackson

Emmanuel Johnson is a senior at Riverside High School in Durham. As a part of WUNC's Youth Radio Project, he reports on a changing neighborhood in his hometown.

I've lived in Durham, NC my whole life and I always walk past this park on the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Holloway Street. It's downtown, near the public library.

Tech looking image
Wonderlane / Flickr/Cretive Commons

Tech leaders and tech start-ups #OnTheRise are in Raleigh this week to show what they’ve got.

Some 80 companies have been selected to display their ideas and jockey for attention from investors at the CED Tech Venture Conference.

Jay Bigelow is CED’s director of entrepreneurship.  He says the goal is to connect with corporate partners and venture capitalists

Pelican's Snoball
Leoneda Inge

Economists and politicians say it’s becoming easier for most adults to get a job these days. But if you are a “young” adult, your story may be different.

Years into the economic recovery, there are still a lot of unemployed and underemployed people, which is slowing the recovery for young adults.

And in North Carolina, the jobless rate for that group is especially high. 

Tom Armstrong
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina is known for its diverse agriculture offerings.  And you can always count on the State Farmer’s Market to feature the best the state has to offer, from collard greens to sweet potatoes.

But on Thursday, for the first time, the State Farmer’s Market hosted Seafood Day.  Enthusiasts said it’s been a long time coming.

It was the perfect day for a fish fry.  It was hot outside and the fish was hot, right out of the skillet.

A picture of an empty wallet.
401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

Chief Financial Officers across the country say that hiking the federal minimum wage could lead to mass layoffs. Rebecca Martinez reports they're not willing to move far from the $7.25-per-hour standard.

Duke University and CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey wrapped up Friday, after 74 consecutive quarters. It's world's longest-running survey of senior finance executives. They say few companies would act if the minimum wage were raised to $8.75 an hour.

Foreclosure Sign

Private and community-based mortgage lenders are meeting in Raleigh this week to talk home ownership for future generations.

The American Mortgage Conference features an impressive line-up in the world of banking and home finance.  Leaders from the Federal Home Loan Banks of Atlanta and Chicago will address the crowd, along with lending managers from BB&T and North State Bank.

a banner for try transit month

Triangle Transit agencies in Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary and Raleigh are participating in a campaign this month to encourage commuters to ride the bus. The organization says leaving your car at home can save you time and money - not to mention the stress of driving in traffic. Some area buses have also upgraded their Wi-Fi to 4G.

"Changing your commute can add an hour to your schedule or you can get work done by using the Internet Wi-Fi that's on some of the buses," said Triangle Transit's Lauren Parker.

A package of Zonnic gum

It might seem counterintuitive: a tobacco giant jumping into the pharmaceutical market. But with the national launch of Zonnic, Reynolds American thinks it can redefine an area typically controlled by drug companies.

Zonnic is Reynolds's nicotine gum. It sells for cheaper than other nicotine gums, and comes with the marketing muscle of the company responsible for Camel and Pall Mall. Reynolds has been testing Zonnic for two years in Iowa and Nebraska, and has determined its time to go national.

Fast Food Workers
Leoneda Inge

Fast food workers in North Carolina rallied Thursday in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage.  As in New York City, Detroit and Chicago, some workers chose civil disobedience.

Fast food workers came from Charlotte, Raleigh and other cities to lock arms with workers in Durham.  And at lunch time, right in the middle of Morgan Street, across from a McDonald’s, dozens of demonstrators sat down, and chanted.

“We can’t survive on $7.25! We can’t survive on $7.25!”

Photo of corner of Trust and Belief from News and Observer's Contracted to Cheat series.

A yearlong investigative report by The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer documents that North Carolina has lost nearly a half-billion dollars each year uncollected state and federal tax revenue from the misclassification of workers. 

Angelina's Kitchen
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina is in the middle of the pack nationwide when it comes to women’s employment and earnings.  That’s the latest from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Items from the old American Tobacco Campus.
WUNC - Hady Mawajdeh

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the American Tobacco Historic Campus revitalization in downtown Durham. The businesses and retail stores occupy a space that was once the epicenter of the tobacco industry. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with former American Tobacco employee Richard Clements about the rise, fall and rebirth of the area.

A picture of segments of pipeline.
Harald Hoyer / Creative Commons

Two North Carolina power companies have announced plans to build a pipeline, connecting to natural gas supplies in the Northeast. 

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas say the pipeline will stretch 550 miles from eastern North Carolina to West Virginia.  That state has a distribution center that gathers natural gas from its own drilling operations, as well as those in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Jim Goodmon with his son, Michael.

American Brands closed the Lucky Strike tobacco factory in downtown Durham in 1987. It was still abandoned in 1995, when Jim Goodmon, President of Capitol Broadcasting Company, built the new Durham Bulls stadium across the street. Goodmon says he’d go to the baseball games and stare at the gigantic, abandoned warehouse. He eventually decided to try to bring it back to life, and he tells that story to his son, Michael.

For decades, ten of thousands of workers walked in to the American Tobacco Company in Durham each day.  This is the story of one of those who stayed the longest.  Annie Lou Andrews is 92 years old. She is the second woman to work in a supervisory role at American Tobacco. She says her first day in leadership, you could feel the tension; the office was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. "I thought, 'uh-oh,'" she says. She spoke with Phoebe Judge.

Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits owner and Marine veteran Matt Victoriano
Carol Jackson

Update 9/6/14:

Today is the last day of business for Durham's Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits. Owner Matt Victoriano, who opened the shop earlier this year, was behind in rent after a lackluster summer. But area business owners and customers rallied behind Victoriano, a former Marine sniper. His Indiegogo campaign, and an auction, raised enough money to cover his immediate needs. Even so, the business will close, and open at a later date in a new location.

From Intrepid Life's Facebook page:

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

Leaders in economic development circles across the state are speaking out against the General Assembly's decision to end the short legislative session without passing an economic incentives package.

For the past decade, the state has used the Job Development Investment Grants program, or JDIG, to help lure large businesses to the state, but money in the fund could run out by late October.

Solar Panels
Strata Solar

Strata Solar has constructed more than 60 clean energy projects across North Carolina, and they hosted a ribbon-cutting Thursday.

It’s just another example of how fast the solar sector is growing in the state.

Betsy McCorkle is Director of Government Relations for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.  She says solar represents $1.5 billion in investments across North Carolina, and growing.

Just Economics is trying to get a living wage for working class in Western North Carolina.

  The Asheville nonprofit Just Economics has been pushing for local businesses to pay a living wage. 


A new report from the Brookings Institution ranks four North Carolina cities among the top 15 in the country where poverty is soaring fastest: Raleigh, Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Greensboro-High Point. 

Thinglass /

North Carolina’s unemployment rate hasn’t moved much in the past several months as the state continues its slow trek towards job growth.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reports a July jobless rate of 6.5 percent.  That’s one-tenth higher than the month before, but 1.6 percentage points lower than a year ago.

Michelle Mills
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina’s manufacturing story is old and complicated.  In just the past decade, the state has seen many traditional manufacturing operations shut down, devastating tens of thousands of workers and their families.

But this decade has also witnessed the growth of a new kind of manufacturing. Next Generation manufacturing is cleaner and more nimble and requires highly-skilled workers.  And you have to start early building a talented workforce.