Articles about the Economy

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Inequalities in Charlotte: Coronavirus shines a spotlight
   April 9, 2020
Ely Portillo
As unemployment rises and schools remain closed, the coronavirus crisis is highlighting some of the many inequalities in the Charlotte region.  Those problems go beyond the ones we’re familiar with, such as income inequality and patterns of segregation. They point to deeply embedded inequalities in how we’ve built our city and our region, as well as access to key infrastructure.  Read more


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Five things coronavirus could change in Charlotte
   March 30, 2020
Ely Portillo
Closed bars, restaurants and breweries. Hundreds of thousands of employees working from home while trying to home-school children. Near-empty road and no toilet paper on the shelves.  The immediate impacts from the coronavirus crisis are highly visible. But the virus could have more long-lasting and farther-reaching impacts beyond the immediate unemployment and economic disruption we’re... Read more


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As Mecklenburg shelters in place, crowded housing conditions vary widely
   March 24, 2020
Ely Portillo, Katie Zager
Mecklenburg County residents are directed to stay at home through a new proclamation Tuesday, in order to limit their social contacts and slow the spread of coronavirus. But some residents could find that harder to do: The rate of crowded housing varies widely across the city of Charlotte and the rest of the county. Read more


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Our homeless neighbors are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus
   March 23, 2020
Lori Thomas
If there has ever been an object lesson on why housing matters and why we must prioritize providing it for people who don’t have a place to live, this latest crisis should teach us. Charlotte’s homeless population is at particular risk as we collectively adjust to COVID-19.  Work to end homelessness takes on new urgency in a pandemic, for reasons of both personal and community safety. The... Read more


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Airlines, facing a crisis, make up a big part of the Charlotte region’s economic heft
   March 20, 2020
Ely Portillo, Katie Zager
Charlotte is home to the world’s sixth-busiest airport by takeoffs and landings, and Charlotte Douglas International is often cited as the region’s most important economic asset. That’s why the airline industry’s sudden existential crisis could be especially consequential for the region. Because of the coronavirus crisis, American Airlines and other carriers are struggling with the twin blow... Read more


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Retail workers, many hit by store closures, make up a big part of our workforce
   March 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: SouthPark mall, Concord Mills and Charlotte Premium Outlets have all temporarily closed, along...

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Coronavirus impacts food service workers, who play a major role in our regional economy
   March 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... Read more


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Opinion: Let’s steer clear of the “D-word” when it comes to housing
   March 11, 2020

Post-war zoning effectively made America’s historic neighborhoods illegal. No longer could you live above the store. No longer could you build a duplex, triplex, or quadraplex  amidst single-family houses. Now, most new housing was a homogenous spread of nothing but single-family bungalows. Apartments were all lumped together and quarantined off in a different part of the city. But stroll... Read more


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Can we build our way out of the housing affordability crisis?
   February 24, 2020
Ely Portillo
There’s a growing consensus that if we want to get out of the housing affordability mess we’re in, we need to hear a lot more swinging hammers. Policymakers, developers and housing advocates are all talking about the need to build more, and more of everything: single-family houses, duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes, townhouses and apartments. It’s fast become the conventional wisdom that we need... Read more


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Rebuilding the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection: Where do we go from here?
   November 18, 2019

Our purpose in studying the 32-county region wasn’t to merely document a Carolinas version of the familiar urban-rural divide. Instead, we sought to go beyond the conventional narrative of an irreversible split, and seek examples of connections –  either residual or new – between urban and rural communities. Connections that might provide opportunities for renewal in places still... Read more