Business & Economy

NPR reporter Frank Langfitt stands next to the taxi he used to give free rides to strangers in Shanghai to investigate shifts in China's social and political paradigm.
Courtest of Frank Langfitt

Reporter Frank Langfitt was no stranger to China when he started the job of NPR Shanghai correspondent in 2011. Langfitt had worked for a newspaper in Beijing from 1997 to 2002, but the country he returned to on this new assignment was vastly different from the one he had lived in before.

A fire at an apartment complex in May 2018 was a wake-up call for Greensboro to address its affordable housing crisis.
David Ford / WFDD

This summer the city of Greensboro plans to sue the 10 landlords with the highest number of housing code violations. These companies have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines owed to the city.

Madeline Gray / For WUNC

North Carolina farmers are among the geopolitical victims in the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, farmers across the state are now weathering the impacts of tariffs.

Fight for 15, Minimum Wage, McDonald's
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

Democratic presidential candidates joined McDonald’s fast-food workers and supporters yesterday to push the corporation to unionize its employees and pay them $15 dollars an hour. Julián Castro, a Democratic presidential hopeful and former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, marched and rallied with low-wage workers in downtown Durham.

Blue Ridge Community College hopes to offer a degree in craft beer brewing starting this fall.
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr, Creative Commons

Updated 3:15 p.m. | May 15, 2019

Agreed-to legislation from North Carolina alcohol wholesalers and small breweries over who distributes their product as the beer-makers grow is finding little resistance within the General Assembly.

A picture of LaShauna Austria working in a hoophouse on Benevolence Farm.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

A nonprofit in Alamance County is celebrating the second anniversary of its working farm. Benevolence Farm provides housing and jobs for North Carolina women as they leave prison.

As school security has become a top priority in communities across the country, security companies have found a thriving new market for their products. But in a sea of gadgets and technology, how do school districts effectively sift through and find the products that can truly help prevent a school shooting?

The ‘Big Aha Moment’

The Chatham County School District has about 8,700 students within its system and is situated in the center of northern North Carolina, a mix of rural and suburban communities.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

U.S. employers added a better-than-expected 263,000 jobs in April, as the nearly decade-old economic expansion shows no signs of slowing. And the unemployment rate dropped to 3.6% — the lowest in nearly 50 years.

In March, the jobless rate was 3.8%. A monthly snapshot from the Labor Department showed solid hiring in services, construction and health care.

Flickr

  

Updated at 3:08 p.m.

North Carolina House Republicans rolled out their full proposed state government budget for the next two years Tuesday, providing additional funds to address school safety and student mental health and to give teachers pay raises.

Updated at 8:42 a.m. ET

The Commerce Department says the U.S. economy picked up steam in the first three months of the year, after a rocky finish to 2018.

Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the first quarter, up from 2.2% at the end of last year. That's a significant turnaround from six weeks ago, when many analysts expected a slump in GDP growth to just 2% or less.

A pickup in consumer spending contributed to the improved outlook. Retailers enjoyed strong sales gains in March after a lackluster February.

a picture of protests at a fight for $15 rally
Fight for $15

Democrats in the North Carolina House are fighting to raise the state’s minimum wage, which has been stagnant at $7.25 an hour for more than 10 years. Lawmakers argue that wages have not kept up with the cost of living: full-time minimum wage workers in North Carolina earn $15,600 annually, while the federal poverty level for a family of two is $16,910. North Carolina Rep. Susan C. Fisher (D- Buncombe) is the sponsor of one of two Democrat-led house bills which aim to raise the minimum wage to $15 over the next five years.

 

Photo courtesy of Susan Crawford

History tends to repeat itself, and when it comes to new technology, the adage could not be more true. As with the advent of railroads and electricity, fiber optic connection holds huge promise for households and cities but is being held up and held back by companies who do not want to lose control over internet provision. While countries like Sweden, Japan and China surge ahead with fiber networks that are transforming medicine, education and city management, the U.S. lags behind and suffers from low-quality, high-cost connectivity. 

N.C. Department of Transportation
N.C. Department of Transportation

The state transportation board has approved grants that will help provide safety improvements to six North Carolina airports.

A thin film of coal ash coats trees and vegetation in an inactive ash basin at the HF Lee plant. As expected, the area was flooded by Hurricane Florence.
c/o Duke Energy

The country's largest electric company says it's challenging an order by North Carolina's environmental agency to excavate coal ash from all of its power plant sites in the state.

Bank of America
Bank of America

Bank of America plans to raise its starting pay to $20 an hour over a two-year period, the bank said Tuesday, starting with a hike next month.

Tariffs Impact High Point Furniture Market

Apr 8, 2019
Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/rpL7cW

Tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration have added to the costs of many goods imported from China, and that's having an impact on attendance at the High Point Furniture Market.

Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Resort in western North Carolina.
Harrah's Cherokee River Valley Casino and Hotel

Native American tribes have emerged as key players in the legislative debates over whether states should legalize sports betting, with some opposing the idea because it could threaten their casinos and others supporting legalization but only if they retain a monopoly.

A photo of the dunes on North Carolina's barrier islands one month after Hurricane Florence
Photo by Katya Jay

More money is heading to North Carolina commercial fishermen whose landings were harmed by Hurricane Florence.

Creative Commons / Wikimedia Commons

A small Russian bank owned by former U.S. congressman Charles Taylor was stripped of its license Friday after allegedly breaking anti-money laundering rules.

One young woman is walking to find work so she can send money back to Venezuela for a nephew who has leukemia.

Another is traveling with four of her five kids, in search of food for her family.

As another family hikes along, the husband walks ahead to hide his tears from his children.

Ben Raynal / Flickr Creative Commons

Women in North Carolina are likely aware that they make, on average, less than men do. New analysis from the National Partnership for Women & Families shows just how much and to what effect. Their new report reveals that women in North Carolina could afford nearly nine additional months of rent, close to a full year of child care, or more than five months of health insurance premiums if the gender wage gap was closed. 

Eastern Carolina Broadband

Lack of reliable high-speed internet access is a persistent problem in rural North Carolina, but small broadband companies are springing up across the state to meet the needs of underserved communities.

Courtesy GoTriangle

The plan to establish a Durham-Orange Light Rail line is over. The GoTriangle board of trustees voted Wednesday to discontinue planning for the 18-mile line that would have connected the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals with Duke University and Duke Hospital and end at North Carolina Central University. 

A picture of Rick Lewis inspecting produce.
Ben McKeown / WUNC

Local grocers work hard to get the most beautiful fruits and vegetables onto market shelves. But a growing number of businesses worldwide are trying to cut down on food waste by selling the so-called "ugly" fruits and vegetables that would otherwise get left behind.

Harrah's Cherokee River Valley Casino and Hotel
Harrah's Cherokee River Valley Casino and Hotel

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians could offer sports and horse betting at its western North Carolina casinos in legislation that appears ready to advance in the state Senate.

An artist's rendering of a light rail stop.
GoTriangle / Triangle Transit

The Durham Orange Light Rail project ground to a halt today as the GoTriangle board of trustees voted to discontinue planning for the 18-mile line from Chapel Hill to Durham.

Public Domain / pxhere

Small North Carolina brewers and alcohol wholesalers raised glasses on Thursday to what they call a legislative compromise that allows the breweries to keep control of their products longer as they grow.

A picture of Erin Lawrimore with a pint of beer.
Jiyoung Park / UNC Greensboro

When you imagine someone who brews beer for a living, who do you picture? A chill guy in jeans and a baseball cap? He's probably white, maybe he has a beard.

Faith leaders voiced their support of House Bill 2. The clergy also denounces comparisons between Civil Rights struggles and LGBT equality efforts.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Opposition lawmakers urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday to reconsider his ban on New York state-funded travel to North Carolina, so a group of state college swimmers and divers won't have to stay in neighboring Virginia during an upcoming NCAA championship meet.

N.C. Department of Transportation

The new bridge on the North Carolina Outer Banks will carry the name of a former state lawmaker.

The N.C. Board of Transportation voted on Thursday to name the bridge over Oregon Inlet for former state Senate leader Marc Basnight.

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