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2014′s political curveballs: 5 biggest surprises of the year
Entering 2014, it was clear that Democrats were in for a tough year. The incumbent president’s party almost always sustains losses in the president’s sixth year, and President Obama’s underwater approval ratings, combined with a Senate map that favored Republicans, left Democrats little hope of defying the odds. Sure enough, Republicans scored big victories on Election Day, although the scale of those victories and the context in which they occurred proved something of a surprise. From the narratives that dominated the campaign (or didn’t) to some of the most surprising results, here are five political developments that threw us for a loop this year. Salon
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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2014's Dumbest Local Ordinances
No U.S. legislative body rolled in to 2014 with higher clout than local government. Fully 70 percent of Americans lacked faith in the federal government at the outset of the year, according to an Associated Press poll, yet over 50 percent felt at least "moderately confident" in their local officials. The U.S. Capitol may have been stuck in gridlock, but municipal governments are generally seen as rising above it all. And a lot did, in fact, get done in our city halls and council chambers this past year. But not all of it was pretty. Some truly head spinning laws and ordinances were put in place this year. Here are 2014's worst. Citylab.com
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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Economic Facts Get in the Way
WASHINGTON -- Uh-oh. Now that the economy is doing well, what are Republicans -- especially those running for president -- going to complain about? And what are Democrats willing to celebrate? Last week's announcement that the economy grew at a 5 percent rate in the third quarter of 2014 -- following 4.6 percent second-quarter growth -- was the clearest and least debatable indication to date that sustained recovery is no longer a promise, it's a fact. Realclearpolitics.com
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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Fracking in North Carolina: Environmental factors a moot point if no one will come frack
In 2015, unless the Legislature takes action otherwise, Lee County could serve as ground zero for a mining revival – this time through fracking. Even as environmental groups rally for online support, those in the energy industry are preparing in-depth gas surveys to take stock of what North Carolina can offer in natural gas. Drilling could happen as early as April, experts say. But that's if all goes according to a plan two years in the making. Even if environmentalist pleas against the practice go unheard, fracking can't provide an economic infusion without the oil and gas industry – and, at least today, the oil and gas industry doesn't seem interested in prioritizing North Carolina. Triangle Business Journal
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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NC set to lift fracking moratorium, but prospects for drilling remain iffy
After four years of heated debate, North Carolina stands on the cusp of lifting its fracking moratorium and opening the state’s woodlands and meadows to shale gas exploration. The state legislature, which convenes next month, is expected to let energy developers start pulling drilling permits as early as April, and no later than autumn. Charlotte Observer
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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Study to look at labor supply in southeastern NC
WILMINGTON, N.C. Economic development leaders in southeastern North Carolina have commissioned a study to learn how the hiring of 1,300 people by one company will affect the supply of workers in the area. Leaders want to analyze the labor pool because Vertex Rail plans to add the new jobs at the former Terex Crane facility in Wilmington in New Hanover County, The Star-News of Wilmington reported (http://bit.ly/1xcnqnl). The company will manufacture tank cars to transport crude oil from North Dakota, Texas and other states. Charlotte Observer
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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Coperion to expand Wythe County operation, create 22 jobs
RICHMOND, VA. — Coperion Corp. plans an expansion of its manufacturing operation in Wythe County that will create 22 jobs. Gov. Terry McAuliffe says the company will invest more than $3 million in the expansion. The project announced Tuesday will be done in collaboration with real estate developer WYCO, LLC. The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $80,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project. McAuliffe approved a $75,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Wythe County with the project. News Observer
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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New NC laws affect movies, firemen and revenues
A new year will bring new laws. Below is a roundup of notable laws effective Jan. 1. News Observer
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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Is Carolina the 'scariest' team in NFL playoffs?
With virtual chants of "#KeepPounding" still trending on Twitter, roars from Panther Nation echoing through Charlotte and the latest TV numbers showing Sunday's win as the most-watched of the season, the Carolina Panthers are riding high at the moment. Triangle Business Journal
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

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Nearly $100M in convention biz coming to Orlando in January
The Orange County Convention Center will start the new year with tons of convention business. Orlando Business Journal
Submitted 2 years 83 days ago

 

 

 

Features & Opinion

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

For those who still languish over "losing to China" or believe that the economy is still in recession, wake up and smell the data. Economic development in the South was about as good as it gets in calendar year 2015 according to the data. And as for China, borrowing a quote from the late football coach Bear Bryant that he made in the half-time locker room down 15-0 to Georgia Tech in 1960, "We got 'em right where we want 'em." For those of you who don't know the rich history of Alabama Crimson Tide football, Bama scored all of its 16 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a field goal on the last play of the game to beat Tech 16-15.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Mike Randle
Today, factories in the U.S. make twice as much product as they did in 1984. And they are doing it with one-third of the manufacturing workforce. In fact, the output of durable goods in 2015 was the highest in the nation's history. So, we do have a strong manufacturing base, at least in the South, much of the Midwest and parts of the West, and it is getting stronger because on a cost-basis, we can compete with any major manufacturing nation in the world.  
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

FEATURE     
The argument for or against a minimum wage hike continues between the reds and the blues, as well as within the economic development community in the South. Should we stay the course with a minimum wage under $8 an hour to better compete with Mexico, the South's biggest competitor for jobs, or set a minimum wage just over $10 an hour, a wage floor most centrists support? That $10 per hour is, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, about right in most states in the South for one adult to be able to cover basic expenses plus all relevant taxes.
 
 Randle Report - Business News in the South
Recent data from the Computing Technology Industry Association (Comp TIA) showed that the technology industry is one of the fastest growing job generators in the South and the nation. The report also indicated that technology job compensation is growing faster than any other sector.
 


 

 

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