The latest on Centene, and Charlotte's plans for the return of office holiday parties
Charlotte City Council members this week got an update on one of the biggest projects currently underway in the city: the new East Coast headquarters for health care giant Centene. Construction of the first phase of the 80-acre campus is slated to wrap up next year. In this week's BizWorthy, the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter's Tony Mecia joins WFAE's "Morning Edition" host Marshall Terry for more on that and other top business stories.
To listen to the full conversation, click the audio above.
Just for a reminder, it's a pretty big deal that Centene announced last year that it's moving to Charlotte, adding about 3,200 jobs initially.
"It's a pretty big deal," Mecia said. "At the time it was announced in the summer of 2020, it was the largest economic development project in the history of the state."
Although there hasn't been much talk lately, Charlotte City Council received an update on the campus plans in University City.
"They're making pretty good progress there," Mecia said. "They're on track. So it really hasn't received maybe a whole bunch of attention in the last year, but it is still still moving forward."
According to the latest Labor Department numbers, Charlotte has gained construction since the beginning of the pandemic. The Ledger reported this week that overall job numbers in the region are still lower than February of 2020.
Mecia says the hospitality industry was hit pretty hard, and manufacturing is still behind where it was 18 months ago.
"Overall, we're still below where we were 18 months ago or so, but we're sort of approaching that, adding jobs, and economists say they expect those jobs to come back over the next few months."
Other topics discussed in this week's BizWorthy:
The holiday office party is back. Sort of. Companies are now trying to balance COVID-19 safety with the traditional office party.
"They're kind of dipping their toes in the water a little bit," Mecia said.
That means small rooms at restaurants, outdoor group activities like Topgolf outings, and small get-togethers at people's homes.
"But not really the big ballroom extravaganzas," Mecia said.
American Airlines has announced it’s paying flight attendants triple to ensure fewer flight cancellations after American announced widespread cancellations the last weekend of October.
"I think for the holidays they want to make sure that doesn't happen again," Mecia said.
Listen to the full conversation by clicking the audio above.