Leoneda Inge

Changing Economy Reporter

Leoneda Inge is WUNC's Changing Economy Reporter. She came to North Carolina in 2001 and has spent most of that time tracking job loss and other major changes in the state's Tobacco, Furniture, and Textile industries. In 2006, Leoneda and a team of journalists won an Alfred I. DuPont Award from Columbia University for the series - North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty.  

Leoneda has won several other first place awards - including three Gracie Awards from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, several Associated Press Awards and a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.  

Leoneda has worked in commercial and public radio for many years and has produced reports for news magazines on NPR, Marketplace, and Voice of America.  Leoneda is a graduate of Florida A&M University.  In 1995, Leoneda was named a Michigan Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.  In 2008, she received her Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University where she was a Knight-Bagehot Journalism Fellow in Business and Economics.  In 2009, Leoneda traveled to Tokyo, Japan as a fellow with the Foreign Press Center.

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Business & Economy
5:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

"American Underground" Selected For Google Tech Hub

Smashing Boxes is one of several tech companies working out of The American Underground in Durham.
Credit Leoneda Inge

The American Underground in Durham’s American Tobacco Historic District has been selected by Google to be a part of its “Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network.”

The American Underground was launched three years ago – a home away from home for many young techies.  The "Terminator 2 Judgment Day" pinball machine gets a workout.

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Business & Economy
4:00 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

The Smithfield, Shuanghui Pork Deal Is Done

Smithfield Foods says it will keep its name after the sell to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.
Credit MPR

Pork processor Smithfield Foods has officially been sold.  It is reportedly the largest purchase ever of a US company by a Chinese company.

Today 96% of Smithfield Foods shareholders voted to sell the pork processor to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong.  The deal is worth $7.1 billion.

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Business & Economy
5:09 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

NC Jobless Rate Dips Slightly in August

North Carolina jobless rate for August 2013 is 8.7%.
Credit NC Policy Watch

The state’s jobless rate in August 2013 is the lowest it’s been in the past year.  But there is still a big loss in payroll jobs.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate is 8.7%, down 0.2 of a percentage point from July and nearly a full point down from this time last year.  The national jobless rate is 7.3%.

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Politics & Government
9:01 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Census: Poverty Up In NC, Health Insurance Rate Steady

US Census Bureau releases its 2012 results on Income, Health Insurance and Poverty.
Credit US Census Bureau

The latest Census report shows North Carolina continues a slow crawl out of the economic downturn.

In 2012, more people lived below the poverty level in North Carolina than they did the year before.  The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows 18% of North Carolinians live in poverty compared to about 16% nationally.

Ed Welniak heads the Income Statistics branch of the Census Bureau.

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Science & Technology
7:55 am
Tue September 17, 2013

CED Tech Venture Conference Opens in Raleigh

A participant at last year's CED Tech Venture Conference in Raleigh.
Credit CED

Today kicks off the 29th annual CED Tech Venture Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. 

This year, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development was a bit more selective in the start-up companies being featured at its annual event.  Only 32 start-ups were chosen to fast-pitch before venture capitalists.

Mike Elliott of Atlanta-based venture capital group Noro-Moseley is this year’s conference chairman. He’s impressed with the group.

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Business & Economy
5:56 am
Mon September 16, 2013

School Renovation Helps East Durham Revitalization

Self Help's Tucker Bartlett with Maureen Joy Charter School students at ribbon cutting on South Driver Street.
Credit Leoneda Inge

There’s a section of East Durham undergoing major revitalization, and in the middle of it all is the oldest existing school building in the city.

But today, more than 100 years later, the old East Durham Graded School has been renovated in grand style.  The project is getting a lot of attention and economic developers and neighbors hope it’s the spark that will keep community revitalization going.

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Business & Economy
4:33 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Walgreens To Buy NC's Kerr Drugstores

Kerr Drugstore in Hillsborough, NC.
Credit Wikipedia

The largest drugstore chain in the United States is buying out North Carolina-based Kerr Drug.

The banner on the Kerr Drug website says it’s North Carolina’s only hometown pharmacy.  But after more than 60 years, Kerr Drug is losing that designation. Walgreens announced today it’s acquiring Kerr’s drugstores and its specialty pharmacy business that fills prescriptions for chronic, complex treatments like cancer.

Michael Polzin is a spokesman for Walgreens, based in Illinois.

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Business & Economy
12:22 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Triangle CEOs Spend The Night Homeless

Mital Patel of Triangle Business Law with his cardboard box at the United Way's 'CEO Sleep Out.'
Credit Leoneda Inge

A group of community and business leaders spent the night under the stars last night, right across from the Durham Performing Arts Center.  The United Way event was designed to bring attention to homelessness and poverty in the Triangle. 

They made their beds out of cardboard refrigerator boxes – laid out or propped up on the grass between DPAC and the railroad tracks.

Kari Stoltz is Triangle Market President for Bank of America.  As she prepared for the night, Stoltz grabbed her khaki baseball cap.

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Business & Economy
7:09 am
Mon September 2, 2013

NC Unemployment Is High And Long-Lasting

The NC Policy Watch Report says "long-term unemployment impacts workers' lifetime earnings, families and the economy."
Credit NC Justice Center

The latest numbers show there are about 418,000 unemployed people across North Carolina this Labor Day.  And many of them have been jobless for a long time.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate is 8.9%, one of the highest in the country and higher than the national rate.  The state has held this designation for much of the so-called economic recovery.

Mekael Teshome is an Economist with PNC Financial.  He says we have to remember, between 2007 and 2010, unemployment rose by 100% nationally but by nearly 150% in North Carolina.

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Business & Economy
4:13 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Triangle Fast Food Workers Rally For Higher Pay

Willietta Dukes is a "Guest Ambassador" at Burger King. She demonstrated outside her restaurant Thursday for a higher minimum wage.
Credit Leoneda Inge

Fast food workers walked off the job in some 35 cities today, including Chicago and Detroit, and in smaller cities like Durham, North Carolina.   They’re demonstrating in support of higher wages and against low pay, long hours and no benefits.  Right now the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.  Nationally the call is for $15 an hour.

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