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Cleveland County commissioners took a bit of an unusual vote Tuesday night at a public hearing. The commission approved tax incentives to lure a new business to Shelby—that part’s pretty standard. The strange part is that they don’t know what the business does.

Commissioners and documents just refer to the company as Project Gnome. Even commission chairman Ronald Hawkins doesn’t know the identity.

“I prefer not to know the details about the project, other than that there will be jobs [and] they will be good jobs,” Hawkins says.

Currently, nearly half a million North Carolinans and 43,000 Charlotteans are jobless. Recently we found out that the state’s unemployment rate for April was 8.9 percent, the first time since 2009 that it has dropped below nine percent. That’s the good news. But on July 1, House Bill 4 will cut North Carolina’s unemployment benefits making it the only state in the U.S. to lose the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program. This program is 100 percent funded and currently provides benefits to over 70,000 out of work North Carolinians who have exhausted their state benefits. There are local organizations assisting with workforce development and providing resources to the unemployed, but will they be able to help everyone who is about to lose their benefits? A conversation about the long-term unemployed, when Charlotte Talks.

Changed Choices Gives One Woman A Second Chance

May 1, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

Nationally, more than a quarter of all women who end up in prison, return to prison. A local nonprofit, Changed Choices, works to change that by providing support to female offenders from when they first enter prison and follows them even after they leave. After nearly a decade of work, only four percent of its clients have returned to prison.  


MetLife To Bring 2,600 Jobs To Charlotte And Cary

Mar 7, 2013

In what’s billed as the biggest jobs announcement in state history, Gov. Pat McCrory Thursday announced the arrival of 2,600 jobs with insurance giant MetLife, with half coming to Charlotte.

MetLife, America’s largest life insurer, would add jobs in Cary and Charlotte. MetLife, America’s largest life insurer, would add jobs in Charlotte and Cary by the end of 2015 in what will be a $125.5 million investment.

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.

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.

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.

Local Drug Tester Crosses The Border

Oct 25, 2012

In the ongoing cross-border competition for jobs, Charlotte is losing yet another company to South Carolina.

Just last month, it was photo-sharing company Shutterfly abandoning Charlotte for Fort Mill.

On Tuesday, Physicians Choice Laboratory Services announced it is moving to Rock Hill, where it will double its workforce. The drug testing company opened in 2009 and now has 150 employees in Charlotte. 

Mark Farris, the economic development director of York County, says it’s only natural.

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