Economy

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.

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.

Chad Stevens

Last weekend marked the fifth anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia—the nation’s worst coal mine disaster in decades. Massey Energy, one of the largest American coal companies, ran the mine, and its CEO Don Blankenship has since been indicted on charges that he deliberately concealed health and safety violations at the mining site.

In addition to taking on education initiatives, PAGE encourages girls to produce photography and digital stories.
Madison County Photo Exhibition / carolinapage.org

Rural communities in western North Carolina are in the midst of an economic shift.

The rise and fall of the family farm means places like Madison County are looking for new ways to support themselves. The answer could be in the tech industry. But technology businesses rely on a steady stream of well-educated workers. 

A panel discussion tonight at Duke University, "Rethinking Appalachia," examines ways to develop a high-tech workforce in rural Appalachia.

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

The state’s higher education institutions had a $63.5 billion impact on the state’s economy in the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to a new study. 

Higher education leaders say the report shows that the North Carolina’s institutions of higher education are providing a strong return on investment for students and taxpayers.

It notes that taxpayers invested $4.3 billion to support higher education in 2012-13, and received a $17 billion return.

Dan Ariely / Duke Photography

Dan Ariely works in contradictions. He studies behavioral economics and points out that humans are logical but irrational beings.

How do we assign monetary value to a thought or an idea? How do we decide when a lie is more valuable than the truth? Are we really in control of the decisions we make on a daily basis?

At the crossroads of psychology and economics, Ariely has made it his life’s work to study the idea that some of our best intentions can lead to our most irrational behavior.

Sharing economy illustration
North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers are taking their first look at how to regulate networks of individuals who buy and sell services between each other, a billion-dollar global industry that already operates in dozens of cities across the state.

One of the peer-to-peer economy’s biggest exponents, Airbnb, accounts for about 2,700 residential rental listings across North Carolina, and drivers who pick up passengers with their personal cars using the application Uber operate in ten cities here.

We've written a lot about how income has changed (or not) for the rich, middle class and poor in the U.S. We've written much less about what the rich, middle class and poor actually do for work.

To remedy that, we made this graph. It shows the 10 most popular jobs in each income bracket. Click on each job to see where it appears in different income brackets.

Showhomes, Home Staging
Eric Mennel / WUNC

About a year ago, Cora Blinsman’s mom passed away. Needless to say, it was a really hard on her. She started taking stock of her own life. Cora had been a full-time, stay-at-home mom for 20 years, and she was feeling burnt out. She needed space. So … she got a lot of it.

Soccer Ball Image
Flickr/Sonny Abesamis

    

As the 2014 World Cup draws to a close, all eyes are on Brazil. Historical data shows the effects of this tournament may go far beyond the walls of the stadium.

A picture of High Point Market.
High Point Market Authority

The state Department of Cultural Resources has installed a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker at High Point Market.

Gov. Pat McCrory is scheduled to attend the unveiling ceremony there today.

The original market building was constructed in 1921 with 249,000 square feet of show space. Now the market offers 11.5 million square feet, and contributes more than $5 billion dollars to the state economy every year.

Photo: A rig and gas well operation on the Marcellus Shale in Scott Township, Pennsylvania.
WCN247 via Flickr

North Carolina lawmakers are beginning to look at how they would tax the shale gas drilling companies for extracting gas from the ground in the state.

Members of the legislative commission that handles laws on energy heard Tuesday afternoon about how states that allow fracking charge companies for removing gas from the ground.

President Barack Obama talks about the importance of raising the minimum wage.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

President Barack Obama signed an executive order last week to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour. He is pushing for Congress to pass a bill that will do the same for all Americans. 

Gov. Pat McCrory stands at a podium and speaks to the Emerging Issues Forum on Monday.
Dave DeWitt

After ongoing controversy about educator pay, Governor Pat McCrory announced a plan to increase salaries for new teachers yesterday. Under this plan, the base pay for the state’s beginning teachers will increase to $35,000 over the next two years, bringing North Carolina starting teacher pay in line with that of border states like Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina.

NC Department of Health and Human Services logo
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say they've made great strides in reducing a backlog of food stamp recipients who weren't receiving their benefits. The USDA had issued the state a warning that unless it reduced the backlog of claims before a Monday deadline, North Carolina could lose 88 million dollars' worth of funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Photo: A rig and gas well operation on the Marcellus Shale in Scott Township, Pennsylvania.
WCN247 via Flickr

The head of the commission appointed to write North Carolina’s rules for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas asked lawmakers Tuesday to halve the area for which drilling companies would be responsible in case of water contamination.

James Womack, chairman of the state’s Energy and Mining Commission, asked that drilling companies be held liable for contamination up to 2,500 feet from excavation sites. Under Senate Law 143, which was signed in 2012, mining companies are liable up to 5,000 ft.

stack of money
Flickr user 401(K)2013

    

Many of us get a little emotional high when we're out spending money.

Now take that idea, and apply it to broader financial decisions. If you are a worrier are you more or less likely to invest money?

Neuroeconomist Camelia Kuhnen knows the answer to that. She studies what goes on inside our heads when we make such decisions.

Here's what she told WBEZ earlier this year:

press.uchicago.edu

Nicholas Carnes is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Duke University and author of "White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making” (University of Chicago Press/2013).

Carnes speaks with Frank Stasio on Tuesday January 7, 2014 about money and politics.

Unemployment Rate
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

In the never ending story that is "so-so" economic news, North Carolina's unemployment rate took a sharp drop in November, but that doesn't necessarily mean there are more people employed.

Here are the numbers up front:

Traffic jam
epSos via Flickr, Creative Commons

Increasingly congested roadways are worrying officials in Raleigh.

The City Council has submitted a "wish list" of road improvement projects to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It includes a proposal to add lanes to I-540 on the north side of the city.

The council doesn't expect the state to fund the project, so it suggested paying for the 108 million-dollar expansion by setting up tolls on the roadway.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin says she knows tolls would not be popular, but she thinks breaking up traffic jams would be.

Photo: Former governors Jim Hunt (left) and Jim Martin
Jorge Valencia

Prominent North Carolina politicians, including Sen. Kay Hagan and former governors Jim Hunt and Jim Martin, spoke in support of U.S. foreign spending on Monday, saying investments outside of the country can benefit the state’s economy. 

The Capitol Building On First Day Of Federal Government Shutdown
http://www.flickr.com/photos/divaknevil/ / flickr.com

  

Leaders of a cooperative featured in Shift Change raise their fists in solidarity
https://www.facebook.com/shiftchangemovie / Shift Change

In America, corporations are king. It’s hard to even think about capitalism without the corporate system that keeps it flowing here in the United States. A movie called "Shift Change" wants to transform the way you think about the economy. It highlights worker-owned businesses in North America and Spain that flip the paradigm of corporate control on its head.

  The nation’s wealth is now concentrated in so few hands, the wealth gap growing so fast, that even its most ardent defenders question whether our current form of corporate capitalism can survive. Gar Alperovitz is looking for the next American Revolution. He is a professor of political Economy at the University of Maryland and author of the book, “What Then Must We Do: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution” (Chelsea Green/2013). Host Frank Stasio talks to him about what can be done to save capitalism.

Man Vs. Markets

Oct 30, 2012

Paddy Hirsch makes a living breaking complex topics down into understandable parts.

He performs this role as the whiteboard guru of the radio program “Marketplace,” and he also uses his skills to explain the economy in his new book, “Man vs. Markets: Economics Explained (Plain and Simple)”. Host Frank Stasio talks to Paddy Hirsch about the battle between man and the markets.

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