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CoastLine: Why Southeastern NC Could Come Out Ahead Post-Pandemic

Cape Fear Collective
Cape Fear Collective is finalizing a regional skills analysis with full results due September 1, 2020


Covid-19 shut down North Carolina in March.  A cautious re-opening plan by state officials has led to a flattening of the case count curve, but the restrictions have also stalled commerce. 

Economist Mike Walden of NC State writes that the biggest blow to the state’s economy happened from February through April.  The sectors that took the biggest hits are not a surprise.  The leisure/hospitality sector lost half of its jobs.  Also hard hit were personal services, retail, and business services. 

The sectors that have suffered the least in North Carolina:  construction, financial services and government.   And because the Wilmington area thrives on tourism, it’s one of the hardest hit parts of the state.

Just this week, Governor Roy Cooper announced the expansion of Retirement Clearinghouse, a fintech company in Mecklenburg County.  He also dropped news that a gene-editing company, Beam Therapeutics, would locate in Durham County.  Both projects amount to an investment of more than $90 million by these companies and the creation of more than 500 new jobs, according to the Governor’s office. 

But what is on tap for the Cape Fear region?  And what kinds of strategic decisions by local business owners and policymakers would help or hinder an economic recovery? 


Adam Jones, Regional Economist, Cameron School of Business, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Meaghan Lewis, Director of Programs, Cape Fear Collective; Project Manager, Cape Fear Talent (regional skills analysis)

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.