Business & Economy

A picture of sweet potatoes.
Llez / Wikipedia

The sweet potato is North Carolina's state vegetable and it’s a cornerstone of agriculture in the Tar Heel State.

No state produces or exports more of the vegetable than North Carolina does, making it the No. 1 producer of sweet potatoes in the nation.

Furniture out on the sidewalk in front of a red brick building
70023venus2009 / Flickr / CC

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction moratorium protects North Carolina tenants from evictions until the end of the year. Any tenant can provide their landlord with a declaration form that attests they are unable to pay their rent and at risk of homelessness.

Even With Protections, Thousands Face Eviction

Nov 17, 2020
Stephanie Wilder of Durham, Protest
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

At 9:40 a.m. on Sept. 30, Mecklenburg County sheriff's deputies showed up at Leegraciea Lewis' apartment door. Lewis hadn't changed into her day clothes yet.

A graphic of an Asian woman, colored red with a white mask, holding a baby colored yellow, against a blue background.
Pixabay

In September, 865,000 women left the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eighty percent of the people who stopped working or looking for work that month were women. It’s no coincidence that this large drop out happened around the same time that the fall semester began: data confirms that mothers disproportionately shoulder the burden of childcare, supervising virtual learning and domestic work. 

A group of five people standing together: one Black woman, three Black men and one white man.
Phil Cohen

He found his calling in a liberal college town, but no university degrees were needed for the fights Phil Cohen would go on to pick with union busters. 

an eviction notice on a front door
Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons/http://bit.ly/2HmJ9nV

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Wednesday preventing landlords from evicting tenants who are unable to pay their rent.

Apartment balconies in Raleigh, NC.
Brandon Griggs / Unsplash / creative commons

Voters in Raleigh are deciding on what would be the largest housing bond in the city's history. 

NC Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services

For over a century, Black farmers have faced challenges in securing federal and local funding to aid their farms in times of need and during crises. COVID-19 has been no different. From lack of access to information about coronavirus relief provisions for farmers to difficulty finding spaces to safely vend during the crisis, the pandemic has made obstacles even more stark.

Olga Lopez, department superior, blowing and stuffing department, turns the material right sided before it is stuffed at Piedmont Furniture Industries Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Ramseur, N.C.
Lynn Hey / For WUNC

Business is booming for the furniture industry — especially home furnishings.

It's a stark contrast to the number of businesses that have had to permanently close and lay off staff as the world is in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Black woman holding a megaphone and wearing a crown in New York City
Courtesy of SX Noir

Working from home looks a little different for sex workers. With most strip clubs closed and dancers excluded from larger pots of money in the coronavirus relief package, the sex trade has  largely gone online. From strippers to erotic masseuses to full service workers, virtual sex work required innovation. 

Craig James / Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/thewidewideworld/45760403542/

The United States Golf Association announced Wednesday it will move its equipment testing center and other offices to North Carolina as part of a $36 million investment within the iconic golfing village of Pinehurst.

A Black McDonalds employee looks out from a drive-through window wearing a branded mask
Paul Sableman

Union membership in the United States is at a record low. About 10% of workers nationwide are currently union members, and only 2.7% of workers in North Carolina are unionized, which places the state second-to-last in the nation.

Many coastal North Carolina vacation rental companies say it's been a busy summer despite the coronavirus pandemic, and they're not expecting a slowdown any time soon.

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina’s Democratic governor announced Friday that he will sign a Republican-authored plan Friday to spend $1.1 billion of the state’s remaining federal COVID-19 relief funds on aid to families with children, unemployment benefits and efforts to fight the virus.

A laundry basket sits on a coffee table.
Sean Freese/Creative Commons

For months, families have been quarantining together during the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has forced parents and partners to rethink everything, from division of household chores and childcare duties to work-from-home needs and whether or not a job that cannot be performed remotely is even worth keeping, if childcare is unavailable or unaffordable. 

RISMedia

Owning your first home is a rite of passage — a marker of true adulthood. For those privileged enough to buy a house, it is often the first step in building wealth. But millennials are not achieving that milestone at the same rate that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers did at their age. 

Enayet Raheem / Unsplash/ Creative Commons

North Carolina is at risk of losing more than $5.3 billion in federal funding because of a low response rate to the U.S. Census. The managers of the state's population estimates say North Carolina is also at risk of not gaining a 14th congressional seat. 

Furniture sitting on a sidewalk curb
CC/Flickr

As of this Monday, Aug. 24, tenants in federally-subsidized housing are facing eviction, homelessness and increased vulnerability to COVID-19. More than just Section 8 public housing, the CARES Act moratorium on evictions that expired July 24 applied to many private rental companies and private landlords with federally-backed mortgage loans. 

Lighthouse
Courtesy of Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Vacation rentals in North Carolina were booked at higher rates in 2020 than in the past two years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark-Anthony Middleton, Durham City Councilman
City of Durham, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/32jlgHc

A member of the Durham City Council is proposing a pilot program that would give a basic income to the city's poorest residents.

Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton describes the idea as a 12 to 18-month experiment that would give 200 to 300 people up to $1,000 a month.

Duke Energy is urging state regulators to approve rate increases at its two North Carolina electric utilities, including money to pay for cleanups of toxic coal ash.   

For Sale Sign Home Real Estate
DavidDubov, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/3gfly6R

The housing market in the Triangle is booming despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from real estate analysis firm Metrostudy.

Aquaculture along the coast of North Carolina is a growing business.  The oyster industry in particular was looking at a banner season this spring before things came to a stop with the pandemic. 

Unpaid Bills Drive NC Families To Financial Brink

Jul 27, 2020
Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash Creative Commons

As many as 1 million families in North Carolina have fallen behind on their electric, water and sewage bills, threatening residents and their cities with severe financial hardship unless federal lawmakers act to approve more emergency aid.

Electric meter
Kevin Harber, via Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/30ykzck

The North Carolina Utilities Commission says nearly 1.5 million customers in the state have been delinquent in payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Utilities Commission says the unpaid bills amount to nearly $260 million.

Headshot of McCoy.
Courtesy of Jesse Hamilton McCoy II

There were not many other poor students in his class at law school. Jesse Hamilton McCoy II knew that most of the laws he learned about were not written or enforced by working class Black people. 

Governor Roy Cooper in a candid photo wearing his black face mask where he gives coronavirus briefings.
File Photo, Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

North Carolina's jobless rate declined dramatically in June, the state announced on Friday, as restaurants, hotels and retailers bounced back since Gov. Roy Cooper's COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

Alan Levine / Creative Commons https://pxhere.com/en/photo/216327

North Carolina's highest court has temporarily blocked a judge's ruling that allowed dozens of North Carolina's bowling alleys to reopen by overturning a portion of Gov. Roy Cooper's COVID-19 executive order keeping them closed.

Ben Finley / AP Photo

When Hurricane Dorian pounded the wisp of earth that is Ocracoke Island, a wall of Atlantic seawater flooded Bob Chestnut’s home, surf shop and four vehicles.

NC Department of Commerce

In 2013, North Carolina’s legislature voted to cut unemployment benefits, shortening the number of eligibility weeks and capping the amount of funds workers could draw. 

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