Economy

May 11, 2020
The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, with support from the Gambrell Foundation, is preparing to launch the second cohort of faculty fellows to study pressing issues in the Charlotte region. 
Apr 14, 2020
Sitting in a gas station turned into a café and coffee shop along Rozzelles Ferry Road in Charlotte’s Historic West End, J’Tanya Adams, a longtime community activist, spotted a commercial real estate broker who has been working with developers interested in building new homes in the area. The conversation was brief, but packed with news. Adams is founder and program director of  Historic West End Partners, a non-profit which largely promotes economic growth and revitalization. She swapped information with Forde Britt about a potential dog grooming shop and other businesses for several nearby empty buildings along the  street. Such interactions are happening more often in the Historic West End as the historically African American community on the outskirts of uptown Charlotte braces for an anticipated spike in growth and development.
Apr 08, 2020
As much of our work, learning and lives move online following the stay-in-place policies to control the coronavirus pandemic, the inequity of the digital divide for low-income and rural households here and around the country is now more visible.  Like most states in the country, North Carolina has poor broadband (or high-speed internet) outside of most cities and towns. Almost all 100 counties in the state include rural areas with little or no broadband
Mar 19, 2020
Restaurant workers are grappling with the industry’s near shutdown in North Carolina due to coronavirus. Another category of workers being hit hard is those employed by the retail sector. The closures have come swiftly over the past week, engulfing an ever-widening swath of stores locally:...
Mar 18, 2020
With Gov. Roy Cooper’s declaration this week that restaurants must close their dining rooms and move to carry-out only, restaurant workers across the region are scrambling to figure out how they’ll get by during the coronavirus crisis.  Food services and drinking establishments (basically, restaurants and bars) account for almost 9 percent of the region’s jobs: 115,000 out of 1.35 million total jobs in Mecklenburg and the surrounding 13 counties.
Mar 17, 2020
Everything from the NCAA basketball tournament to this spring’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace has been canceled, and the disruptions have also reached into the rhythm of meetings and public input sessions that drives much of planning and development in Charlotte.
Sep 24, 2019
An array of environmental, cultural and economic connections together give rise to the interdependence of the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study region.  But none of these connections are more economically significant than the flow of workers within our regional economy. Counties within the region relied on out-of-county commuters for their workforces more in 2015 than at any point in our history: nearly one-quarter of our region’s residents had jobs outside of their home county.
Aug 23, 2019
Charlotteans often lament how many old buildings here have been torn down, but there are still structures worth saving, along with groups and developers willing to put in the work.  On Thursday, the Charlotte Museum of History announced the winners of its 2019 Historic Preservation Awards. The five honorees, from 27 nominations, include a historic high school gym, a hip, repurposed mill, and historic houses. 
Aug 12, 2019
A new program designed to identify solutions for some of the pressing needs and issues of the greater Charlotte region is getting underway this fall at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. For the first time, the Institute has named a cohort of Faculty Fellows to conduct short-term research projects and work alongside community stakeholders to understand and share findings that can guide community decision-making.
Jul 31, 2019
Since City Council approved TOD Article 15 - the new Transit-Oriented Development ordinance - last April, land use consultants, architects, real estate attorneys and other insiders have had ample opportunity to sort out these new rules. As for laypersons, gleaning what they need to know from TOD’s eighty-one page assemblage of definitions, rules, standards, charts and graphics can be a real challenge, despite efforts by staff planners to make the document as jargon-free and user-friendly as possible. 
Jul 11, 2019
If planners, developers and other leaders in Charlotte have a favorite word, it might just be “vision.” In a city defined by its growth, local leaders aren’t shy about throwing the word around,. and there are plenty of visions being promoted in Charlotte at any one time. Visions, of course, don’t always become reality - and if they do, they often take far longer than the original planners imagined, and mutate from their original form. But visions can also set the stage for development patterns that persist for generations. 
Jun 25, 2019
There was a stir in town a few weeks ago, when the new Charlotte Regional Business Alliance CEO, Janet LaBar, commented to the Charlotte Observer, “I think Charlotte doesn’t have a brand. That’s not necessarily, today, good or bad. That just means that’s an opportunity for us to actually create one.”
Jun 25, 2019
The year was 1955, but the city’s problems would look pretty familiar to its modern residents. Charlotte was confronted with growing traffic, inadequate transportation options, a lack of park space and the fear that growth was running away without a real, comprehensive plan.
Jun 05, 2019
Smaller cities and towns across North Carolina are hoping an old, familiar sound will spark new life in their downtowns: The crack of a bat. Four new downtown ballparks with capacity for about 5,000 fans are popping up in the state, and officials are counting on them to draw new residents, breweries, restaurants and vitality. 
May 30, 2019
“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” President John F. Kennedy To say that agriculture is important in North Carolina would be an obvious understatement. Agriculture and agribusiness, including...
May 06, 2019
We asked a dozen Charlotte community leaders from different walks of life one question: What does the city need more than anything in its new vision for growth? From designing for people instead of cars to building more equitably to not imposing too many regulations, here’s what they had to say. 
Apr 25, 2019
As cities continue to grow and thrive, with downtowns reviving and old neighborhoods being redeveloped, is their future still really in the suburbs? That's what one advocate said this week at a real estate forum, provoking debate about growth, transit and sprawl.
Oct 10, 2018
Authors James and Deborah Fallows, who’ll appear in Charlotte on Nov. 13, talk about their travels through America and what they discovered about civic revitalization.
May 15, 2014
Interactive data dashboards track Gaston County trends in demographics, economy, education, health and quality of life. (Graph: ui.uncc.edu)
Apr 17, 2014
Our Regional Indicators website now has a new home on the institute’s main website. You’ll find all the data that was on the previous site, but with improved functionality and a new look.
Apr 16, 2014
Find the story in the numbers. See below to explore facts about the Economy in the Charlotte region. See how the region's counties compare to one another and how the metro area compares to peers around the country. Browser not compatible.
Apr 06, 2014
Regional statistics you can visualize, customize and share Welcome to the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute's data portal. See below to explore facts about the Charlotte region from among 11 topic areas, compare your county to the metro region and the state, and explore in-depth data from...
Mar 13, 2014
Charlotte's metro has one of the fastest-growing college-educated populations in the U.S. Where exactly do the educated live in Charlotte? As people with college degrees cluster in metros, what does that mean for rural areas? (Graphic: John Chesser)
Oct 03, 2013
Population growth in Charlotte has always come with plenty of costs, but rising incomes and prosperity were part of the expected returns. Yet during the recent economic downturn, as population growth continued, economic growth sputtered. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Mar 28, 2013
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 153,015 individuals who worked in Mecklenburg County commuted from another county in the Charlotte MSA – among the highest number of county-to-county commuters in the U.S. (Photo: Nancy Pierce) 
Feb 28, 2013
Local perceptions may not have caught up with the new reality in the Charlotte region’s manufacturing economy. Even before the recession began in 2007, declines in the textile and furniture industries were changing the structure of local employment. As the downturn continued, counties that depended less on textile and furniture manufacturing lost fewer jobs. The result: Several counties traditionally considered centers of manufacturing employment, such as Gaston, now have a smaller percentage of jobs in manufacturing than fast-growing Union.
Feb 14, 2013
Times have been tough in the local economy, but it looks as if we’ve finally turned the corner. If growth is starting to make a comeback, exactly where will it be? Is your county ready? (Photo:  U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office)
Oct 25, 2012
Charlotte has lagged much of the country in this period of economic recovery, but the region has finally begun to see a few small signs of better days on the horizon. Over the past several months, there has been gradual improvement in the unemployment rate and home price index in the region. These bright spots are welcome news in a region that continues to suffer the effects of the Great Recession.
May 01, 2012
With unemployment only beginning to dissipate across the Charlotte region, the demand for workforce development remains at an unprecedented high.  In particular, there is a growing need for customized training for disconnected youth, returning veterans, and seniors and a huge demand for stronger soft-skills training.  These are among the main findings of a recent study the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute conducted for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.
May 01, 2012
In March 2012, Goodwill commissioned the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to conduct a literature review of the workforce development sector’s needs across its eighteen-county region..  The report revealed major themes surrounding system needs, target populations and most valuable skills training. 
Apr 25, 2012
In this period of high unemployment, not everyone has suffered equally.  Two populations of particular concern are veterans and youth.  Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont provides services to both of these populations and is a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable populations in the Charlotte region.  The agency is continuing its innovation and outreach efforts in a partnership with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute by providing new resources to the community to understand who needs help now, and who may be at most risk in the future.
Jan 27, 2012
This report focuses on the disparity in earnings between men and women across industries in Mecklenburg County. The wage gap or ratio is an often cited statistic to highlight the disparity between the earnings of men and women. Most sources cite the wage gap in the United States being between 75 and 80 percent, meaning women only earn 75 to 80 percent of what men earn.
Jan 27, 2012
This report examines how men and women in Mecklenburg County fared during the Great Recession. It examines the overall features of the labor market and analyze some of the residual impacts the recession had on families. The goal of this report is to understand the local conditions for women and men during the recession and how these local conditions compared to those at the national level.
Jan 27, 2012
To shed light on the interconnectedness of personal and professional life, the Women’s Summit developed “Women, Wages and Work,” a year-long campaign dedicated to raising awareness of the challenges facing women as a result of pay inequity and to understanding how the issues traditionally considered “women’s issues” either influence, or are influenced by, women’s experiences in the workforce.  This is the first in a series of four reports.
Jan 27, 2012
This report analyzes how women fared in the workplace at the national level after the Great Recession, which ended in June 2009, compared to their status before it began. This report also compares women to their male counterparts before and after the recession in terms of total job growth, job growth in the public sector, and wages earned.
Jan 05, 2012
The first quarter 2012 Charlotte Business Confidence Index report, released Jan. 3, shows Mecklenburg County business leaders' optimism about economic prospects in the first quarter improved compared to their expectations for the fourth quarter 2011. The overall index value of 54.6, an increase of 8.3 points compared to the fourth quarter, returned to a positive outlook on business confidence, after posting negative expectations for the first time in the fourth quarter.
Nov 02, 2011
After the initial windfall of data from the 2010 Census that was followed by media outlets all over the country, the next wave of Census data is upon us. In this new age of the American Community Survey, we now get considerable data more often than every 10 years.
Nov 02, 2011
The regular announcements of unemployment numbers tend to focus on short-term changes and specific locations. It can be challenging to make sense of trends in unemployment over longer periods or between geographical regions. How is the Charlotte region holding up in this important measure? The answer: not well. The June release of N.C. Employment Security Commission (NCESC) data shows widespread increases in unemployment across the state.