Business

Business news from Charlotte and the Carolinas. For more business news, listen to Marketplace every weekday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Foreign Investment Created 7,000 NC Jobs In 2011

Mar 27, 2013

North Carolina created more jobs in 2011 through out-of-state and international investment than any other place in the U.S., according to an annual report IBM produces for clients.


Celebrating 45 Years With US Airways (Well, Sort Of)

Mar 22, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

These days, it's not that often that employees work for the same company for most if not all of their careers. Thursday night, US Airways celebrated employees who have done just that.


Start-Ups Struggle To Find Local Investment

Mar 13, 2013
Viddlz.com

When it comes to start-up technology businesses, let’s just say Charlotte is no Silicon Valley. The local start-up scene has made some recent strides, though. Packard Place in Uptown has emerged as a hub for technology entrepreneurs and last year launched RevTech Labs, a program offering space and support for early-stage companies. The first group graduated five months ago, but they’ve struggled to attract local investors—a common complaint of Charlotte start-ups.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—for natural gas in shale rock has radically changed the nation’s energy mix. Since the fracking boom began in 2008, the cost of natural gas has plummeted and supply has surged. The technique is banned in North Carolina, but a bill that passed last year and another currently making its way through the legislature would open the door.

How The US Airways Merger Will Affect Charlotte

Feb 14, 2013
USAirways.com

  The early indication is that Charlotte’s airport is safe in the just-announced merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The new American Airlines will be the world's largest, with a value of 11 billion dollars and an extensive network of destinations.

When merging, airlines combine operations, which means reducing duplicative routes and changing presences in airports. US Airways operates about 90 percent of flights in and out of Charlotte-Douglas every day—it is the airline’s largest hub.

Freightliner Cuts 1,200 Charlotte-Area Jobs

Jan 31, 2013
KDavidClark/Flickr

The numbers are in on Daimler Chrysler’s plan to lay off workers at its three Charlotte area Freightliner plants. The tally is 1,200 jobs.

To comply with federal law, Daimler notified state and local governments this week that the company plans to lay off workers as soon as April. The state posted the numbers of expected layoffs today: 80 workers from a parts plant in Gastonia, 405 from an assembly plant in Mount Holly, and 715 from the assembly plant in Cleveland. Daimler cited “softening economic conditions” as the catalyst.

Regions Bank Ends Payday Loans In NC

Jan 30, 2013

Regions Bank, based in Birmingham, Alabama has been using a federal banking law to provide payday lending services, even though these types of loans are illegal in North Carolina.

But the bank recently announced that it will no longer offer its payday lending service to North Carolina residents because of the small number of eligible customers for the product in the state.

Since 2001, payday lending shops have been illegal in North Carolina. But that law doesn't apply to banks that are based outside the state.

Duke Energy

A small county on the Florida Gulf Coast is in a budget crisis because its largest taxpayer is refusing to pay up. Progress Energy Florida – which is now owned by Duke Energy – operates a coal and nuclear power plant complex that accounts for one-quarter of Citrus County's property tax revenues. But Duke Energy only paid half its tax bill last year and this week warned it'll do the same in 2013. WFAE's Julie Rose explains:

Jennifer Lang

We've already established that Bank of America's 2008 acquisition of Countrywide was a costly move – and a mistake in the view of many. The Charlotte bank has spent tens of billions of dollars on settlements and losses tied to that mountain of messed-up mortgages. On Monday, Bank of America made some important progress.

Another day, another settlement - or really two,  in the case of Bank of America. And these are far from the last we'll expect to see. 

Microloans For Poor Arrive In Charlotte

Jan 2, 2013
www.grameenamerica.org

Charlotte is a bank town – known for banks in the traditional sense – like Bank of America and Wells Fargo that offer checking accounts, credit cards and loans, if you can qualify. But in the last week, a very different kind of bank opened in Charlotte offering what's known as microloans to small businesspeople who couldn't qualify for a traditional one.

BofA Stock "Most Improved" For 2012

Jan 1, 2013

One of North Carolina's most publicly-criticized companies also saw the biggest improvement in stock price during 2012.   

Bank of America's stock ended the year at $11.61 a share, which is more than double its starting price in 2012.  

Keep in mind, of course, that five years ago BofA was trading around $40 a share, so there's a good distance to go if a full rebound is in the cards.

Duke Shuffles Executives

Dec 18, 2012
Duke Energy

Another Progress Energy executive is out at Duke Energy in the latest personnel shuffle of the merged companies.  A Duke Energy spokesman says changes required in a settlement with North Carolina utility regulators sparked a "domino effect."  

Seven top executives are shifting titles and roles in what resembles a game of musical chairs.

Duke CEO: Don't Fear The Fiscal Cliff

Dec 17, 2012
Julie Rose

The Charlotte business community gathered Monday for a diagnostic take on the U.S. economy from the city's top industries. Executives of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, Nucor and Premier health care alliance offered a grim picture of slow growth and high unemployment. 

If the U.S. economy had a life coach, every pep-talk these days would be along the lines of "Look pal, you gotta 'Fake it 'til you make it.' Confidence breeds success.  All this worry is bringing you down."

Ben Bradford/WFAE

The U.S. government and the nuclear industry are betting on new, much smaller nuclear reactors that can be mass produced in factories, and shipped around the world. 

"We are trying to jumpstart a new U.S. industry," says Assistant Secretary of Energy Pete Lyons. "That’s my goal: A U.S. industry, U.S. jobs, clean energy."

Last month the Department of Energy partnered with Charlotte-based nuclear company Babcock & Wilcox to finish development, in a deal that could total over $400 million. But critics worry that the model for the new reactor is flawed at its core.

Eat Local? Try Locally-Processed Food

Dec 10, 2012
Julie Rose

To "eat local" typically means dining on fresh produce, meat and dairy from nearby farms. But WFAE's Julie Rose discovered another way to "eat local" that is a thriving industry in the Charlotte region.

The Charlotte Regional Partnership estimates there are more than 200 companies processing food locally with some 15,000 employees and $5 billion in yearly sales.

Let's dine on the fruits of their labor.

First to the meat counter. Perdue and Tyson have huge poultry processing plants in our region.

A Sign Of Surging Construction In Mecklenburg

Dec 6, 2012
North Carolina Department of Transportation

Mecklenburg County is adding 18 new building inspectors, in response to an expected surge in construction, but that has not necessarily led to a surge in construction jobs.

Mecklenburg Code Enforcement Director Jim Bartl says his office has been steadily getting busier. By spring, he expects to be so busy that his office will need the new staff.

“What we’ve been observing, which is a trend for 21 months especially on the commercial side, is a slow climb out of the depths of the recession,” Bartl says.

An Ear Around Charlotte On Black Friday

Nov 24, 2012
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Super stores, including Walmart, K-Mart, and Target opened on the night before Black Friday this year. At the Target near Uptown, Juanita Stinson sketched out her shopping plan.

"I don’t plan on getting home 'til seven in the morning or later," Stinson says. "Go to sleep, get up around 3 in the afternoon, hit it again."

But, some people don’t approve of Black Friday’s encroachment into the holiday.

S&D To Add 200 Jobs In Concord

Nov 19, 2012
Nishant Khurana/flickr

If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s a good chance you’ve had a cup of S&D Coffee and don’t know it. The Concord-based company supplies McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Circle K, and Krispy Kreme, among others, with coffee, tea, and creamers. S&D has over 600 employees in the state and now plans to add another 200 to that count.

Lowe’s Home Improvement says its profits jumped 76 percent in the third quarter from the same period a year ago. The company headquartered in Mooresville says it made $396 million. Part of the increase comes from sales related to Hurricane Sandy.

flickr/Todd Austin

In the late 1990s, there were what were called "Crystal Meetings". Top executives from ten Asian-based tech companies met in hotels and bars in Taiwan to set the price of LCD screens.  In other words, price-fixing.

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