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NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Talks Commerce

Nancy McFarlane

North Carolina mayors from the mountains to the coast gathered in Raleigh yesterday to talk business and job creation in this tough economy.

The man of the hour actually wasn’t a mayor at all.  It was O’Hara Macken, an executive vice president and managing director of IPREO.

“Access to talent, culture, livability are all really important to us.  Raleigh offered all of that," said Macken.

IPREO provides global market intelligence and data to banks and publicly-traded companies.  The New York firm opened an office in Raleigh three months ago and is already ahead of hiring projections.

In North Carolina, where job creation is down, that’s great news.

“Here in the state, GDP is up 3.5 percent from its pre-recession peak.  Employment is still down 2.6 percent, so there’s been a big split.  We’ve recovered in terms of production, we haven’t recovered in terms of job creation," said Mekael Teshome, an economist with PNC Financial Services.

Teshome and Macken addressed mayors of the largest 28 municipalities at the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Annual Meeting in Raleigh.

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane chairs the coalition.  She says cities are the centers of job creation and transportation is key to helping everyone.

“We have people that commute easily from 60 miles away.  And so that’s why planning for that and planning for transportation is key.  People need to have options if they want to live in a more rural place, that’s great.  And if jobs aren’t going to come there for whatever reason,  then we need to make sure they can get to a place where there is a job," said McFarlane.

Highway widening projects in the Boone area and light rail between Concord and Charlotte are already underway.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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