NC Commerce

Labor and Economic Analysis Division, Department of Commerce

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In Case You Missed It: News of Interest from Around North Carolina (Week of January 5, 2018)

[Michael Walden] Is North Carolina’s economic shift complete? – NC Spin

“In the 1970s three industries – tobacco, textiles and furniture – dominated the state, accounting for over 20 percent of both total state economic production and employment…  Tobacco was being squeezed by concerns about the health effects of smoking as well as foreign competitors. Also, automation was beginning to be introduced into factories, meaning fewer workers were needed to produce the final output.  Then came to the impacts of the two international trade treaties of the late 20th century… Fortunately, something I call the “North Carolina Economic Miracle” happened. As the Big Three declined, a new “Big Five” emerged in the form of technology, pharmaceuticals, finance, vehicle parts and food processing…  While this transformation has been miraculous for the state as a whole, it is the basis for the urban-rural divide we see today. Many of the industries of the new “Big Five” – notably technology, pharmaceuticals and finance – have developed in metropolitan areas. In contrast, much of the employment of the old “Big Three” – especially textiles – was in small towns…  Since the Great Recession a decade ago, tobacco product, textile and furniture output combined has declined another 30 percent, taking 36,000 jobs with it. In 2017 alone, the major metro areas in the state added 64,000 jobs, while small towns and rural areas gained less than 1,000 jobs.   So the new North Carolina economy is still being formed, and – unfortunately – it is creating winners and losers.”

Can beer save Rocky Mount?-–News and Observer

“For 200 years an abandoned cotton mill along the Tar River in Rocky Mount has been a symbol of resilience, burned down by Union troops, rebuilt, accidentally burned again, rebuilt again and then ceasing operations in 1996 with the collapse of the textile industry. Now the plant is churning back to life as a multimillion-dollar redevelopment project called Rocky Mount Mills, a mix of offices, lofts, cottages, common areas and start-up breweries that could help the economically distressed region an hour’s drive east of Raleigh. Its village of 60-some mill houses are being turned into rental dwellings, each with a washer-dryer, charcoal grill, free landscaping, and an American flag on the front porch. There is a waiting list for the next vacancy. The project has 300,000 square feet of offices. Another 49 loft apartments renting from $950 to $2,200 a month are on the way. Three restaurants offer wood-fired oven pizzas, chef-inspired tacos and upscale American cuisine. …At Rocky Mount Mills there is a brewery incubator where start-ups will perfect their craft. Underlining that central theme, every mill house has a small refrigerator with a beer tap called a kegerator.”

Promise of lower tuition is attracting more applicants to these three UNC campuses—News and Observer

“So far, interest is up as word has spread about NC Promise. The program, created by the legislature in 2016 and funded this year at about $51 million, gives families a lower tuition option in three areas — the northeastern, southeastern and western regions of the state. Completed applications from prospective students are up 50 percent at UNCP, 11 percent at Elizabeth City State and 12 percent at Western Carolina, compared to this time last year. At UNC Pembroke, officials report a big spike in people looking at marketing material about NC Promise – a 2,900 percent jump in online traffic from North Carolina residents and 11,400 percent increase from South Carolina residents. UNCP is about 20 miles from the South Carolina line.”

  • 8 January 2018
  • Author: Brett Dyson
  • Number of views: 972
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