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N.C. Today: Raleigh moves to No. 4 on Forbes ranking of Best Big Cities for Jobs

Cathy Martin on April 2014 at 4:00:00 pm 
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Two weeks after topping Forbes' list of Best Cities for Raising a Family, Raleigh moved into fourth place in the business-media company's latest ranking of Best Big Cities for Jobs after not breaking the top 10 in 2013.

The ranking, based on job creation both pre- and post-recession and the rate at which those jobs are growing, was compiled using data from 66 metropolitan statistical areas with more than 450,000 jobs. 

According to the list, jobs in the Raleigh-Cary MSA grew at a rate of 3.9% in 2013 and 7.2% from 2008-2013.

The Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill MSA didn't fare as well, slipping to No. 14 from the No. 8 position in 2013 with a job growth rate of 2.4% in 2013.

Topping the 2014 list was the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., MSA, which benefited from a surge in IPOs among tech companies in 2013.

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McColl on BofA

Site Administrator on April 2014 at 12:00:00 am 
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Business North Carolina Editor David Mildenberg interviewed Hugh McColl Jr. yesterday for an upcoming story — one that is unrelated to the recent accounting fiasco at Bank of America Corp. that led the bank to suspend its plan to raise its quarterly dividend to five cents a share. But, as always, the former CEO of BofA had an interesting take.

Because of an oversight, the bank had claimed $134 billion in capital, $4 billion more than it actually had. In response, the Federal Reserve forced the bank to postpone a dividend increase and stock buyback, causing shares to decline 6.3% Monday. Even with the revised numbers, however, BofA will have capital of $130 billion, more than 9% of its common equity. That is similar to the 10% ratio that was typical among U.S. banks in 1959, when McColl started his banking career. But over the next 30 years, regulators allowed banks to operate with more and more leverage, which was key to BofA growing into the second-largest U.S. bank, McColl says.

During his 18 years running the bank, NCNB Corp. and then NationsBank Corp. often had less than 5% and even dipped under 4% after buying C&S/Sovran Corp. in 1991, he says.

Despite the recent accounting error, BofA has more capital than required under international rules set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which calls for an 8.5% ratio by 2019. McColl, 78, who still has an office in the bank’s Charlotte headquarters building, didn’t want to comment directly on the accounting issue because he is no longer on BofA’s payroll. But he remains Charlotte’s biggest booster, noting that he left his home at 8:14 a.m. and was working at his 41st-floor office by 8:35. “It’s the best city in the country to do business.”

 

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N.C. Today

Cathy Martin on April 2014 at 4:00:00 pm 
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Bank of America suspends dividend increase, buyback

Bank of America Corp. suspended its plan to raise its quarterly dividend to 5 cents per share because it miscalculated capital ratios, exposing an undetected accounting mistake dating to its 2009 acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Shares, which declined 6.3% on the news yesterday, rebounded in trading today.
 
It's the latest in a string of negative disclosures over the past month from the Charlotte-based bank, which is struggling to restore its reputation with investors. Here's a recap:
 
March 26: BofA said it will pay $9.5 billion to resolve four lawsuits related to defective mortgages.
 
April 9: The bank said it would pay $783 million in fines and refunds to credit-card customers misled by marketing of its credit-protection and identity-theft products.
 
April 16: BofA reported a first quarter net loss of $276 million, mostly due to costs associated with resolving mortgage issues.
 
April 28: The bank suspends what would have been its first dividend increase since 2008, as well as its plan to buy back $4 billion in common stock.
 
BofA will have 30 days to submit a revised plan to the Federal Reserve. The company’s shares have increased 22% in the past year, trading as high as $18.03.

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Michael Jordan reacts to Sterling's suspension

Site Administrator on April 2014 at 12:00:00 am 
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Michael Jordan, owner and chairman of the Charlotte Bobcats, issued a statement late Tuesday supporting Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to suspend Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for the rest of his life and fine him $2.5 million.

“I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift and decisive response today," Jordan said in the statement. "He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA. I’m confident that the league, our players and our fans will move on from this stronger and more unified.”

Over the weekend, TMZ released audio it claims is Sterling asking his girlfriend not bring black people to Clippers games with her.

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Charlotte not as kind to women workers

Spencer Campbell on April 2014 at 12:00:00 am 
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As we point out in the May issue, the National Partnership for Women & Families reports that women in North Carolina make, on average, “82 cents for every dollar paid to men.” Though not equal, that’s two pennies better than 2013 and beats the U.S. average by a nickel. But gender pay isn’t as equitable in the state’s largest metro.

The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit’s 2013 report on the wage gap (it has not released data for metropolitan statistical areas for 2014) claims full-time female workers in Charlotte made $37,225 annually compared with $49,131 for men. That’s 76 cents for every dollar earned by a man. 

The problem might be the very industry that put the Queen City on the map. An April 23 post on The New York Times blog The UpShot contends women are paid less not because they choose lower-paying jobs but because they are paid less in certain industries. According to data from Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University economist, some of the widest gaps are in financial services.

Below is a sampling of what women in some high-paying jobs make compared with me.

Charlotte is the headquarters city of Bank of America Corp. and a large outpost for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. In March, 8.4% of the metro’s nearly 900,000 employees worked in financial activities, compared with about 5.0% in the state.

 

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N.C. Today

Cathy Martin on April 2014 at 4:00:00 pm 
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Furiex Pharmaceuticals to be acquired for more than $1.1 billion

Furiex Pharmaceuticals, a Morrisville-based company that employed 24 as of December, is being acquired by Forest Laboratories of New York for $95 per share, or about $1.1 billion, the companies said today.

Forest may pay as much as $360 million more, or $30 a share, depending on how the Food and Drug Administration designates Furiex’s lead product for irritable bowel syndrome.

Forest also has entered into an agreement with Royalty Pharma to sell royalties on two of Furiex's other drugs for $415 million.

Furiex was spun off by Wilmington-based contract-research organization Pharmaceutical Product Development in 2010. The company posted revenue of $71 million in 2013. Its stock has increased by about 140% over the past year.

The deal is expected to close during the second or third quarter.

Separately, Forest Labs is being acquired by Dublin-based Actavis PLC for $25 billion, pending regulatory and shareholder approval.

Artal Group SA, a Luxembourg investment company, was Furiex’s largest shareholder as of June 30 with an 8.1 stake, according to Yahoo Finance.

Red Ventures expanding in Charlotte

Red Ventures, a marketing and sales company based near Charlotte, said today it will hire 580 more workers over five years in Mecklenburg County and invest more than $2 million at its location there.

The announcement follows by a month Red Ventures’ plan to move more than 200 people to the Carolinas from Miami and San Antonio.

The company employs more than 1,900 at its Indian Land, S.C., headquarters, located two miles south of Charlotte, and in north Charlotte and Wilmington. The company, which has grown sales more than 30% annually over the past five years, is set to unveil a 180,000-square-foot headquarters building in June.

The expansion of the 34,000-square-foot Charlotte office will be funded in part by a state Job Development Investment Grant if it meets job creation and performance targets. The award could provide Red Ventures with up to $3.2 million over 12 years.

 

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Making sense of census data

Spencer Campbell on April 2014 at 12:00:00 am 
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For those of us who seek statistics to help provide a better picture of what’s happening in North Carolina — Business North Carolina’s Statewide sections don’t compile themselves — help has arrived.

In October 2013, Carolina Population Center at UNC Chapel Hill created Carolina Demography to make custom-based population projections for governments, school districts and businesses. It creates sharp-looking graphics to provide a clearer view of trends (check out this progression of housing using between 1940 and 2050 here) and make vivid important correlations (like this one between income and life expectancy in North Carolina counties).

Below are maps displaying clusters of adults (25 and older) with bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Some of it is obvious — like more Ph.Ds live in the Triangle than anywhere else — but it’s much more interesting than an Excel spreadsheet.

 

Carolina Demography can target populations within populations, citing, for example, senior services, Director Becky Tippett says. Census figures might lump older populations of a county together, but Carolina Demography can split long-time residents from newly arrived retirees, providing metrics on how to serve their different needs. “It’s understanding the population metrics that really impact key elements of the state,” says Tippett, who previously had a similar position at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. As the lone employee, she draws on research in place at Carolina Population Center, which opened in 1966.

Carolina Demography, a part of the university, charges clients just enough to keep the lights on, Tippett said. She’s completed work for TowerCo Inc., providing information on the best places for the Cary-based company to build wireless towers, and the Republic of Ecuador, which wanted details on the economic impact of tourism in the Galapagos Islands.

 

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