The number of people in Caldwell County reported as employed went up by nearly 300, but the number of unemployed went up by more than 150. Combined, that meant that the size of the county’s labor force climbed by more than 400, a possible sign that some of the long-term unemployed who had dropped out of the labor force feel encouraged enough to look for jobs again.
But it also meant the county's unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points, to 7.4 percent.
In a recent trip to New Bern for an economic development conference, Lenoir city officials learned of a building code that could dramatically lower the cost of renovating historic buildings downtown.
The price and size of the deal for Caldwell County and Lenoir to buy the freight-transfer site known as the transload facility keeps shrinking.
The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners voted in favor of a deal Monday night that includes less than two-thirds of the land that the commissioners approved buying Feb. 3 and the Lenoir City Council approved April 15. The cost is expected to decline too, but by how much is not certain yet because a new assessment is needed, County Attorney David Lackey said.
Stephen Loe, a chef and brewer, bought the former Greyhound bus station at 1048 Harper Ave., across the street from Robin's Nest, last week and plans to convert the 2,400-square-feet building into a micro pub with indoor dining space for about 50 and patio space for another 25-30, said Loe's father, Bob Loe, who will serve as assistant brewer and financial officer.
For years, employees at the Kincaid Furniture plant in Hudson filed into the Food Fare convenience store on Main Street, right across the plant's sprawling parking lot.
"It was great here," store manager Johnny Moretz said. "On Thursdays, when they would get paid, there would be three lines at the counter."
Now, they trickle in.
In a few months, they will stop coming in altogether.
La-Z-Boy Inc. will cease production of furniture at its Kincaid Furniture plant in Hudson this fall and will close two North Wilkesboro warehouses, laying off 100 people. The company didn't provide a breakdown of how many jobs will be left in Hudson.
Lenoir agreed Tuesday to the formal business agreement for operating the so-called transload freight-transfer facility on U.S. 321-A.
It is the first time the city has agreed to take part-ownership in a business, City Attorney Ed Blair said.
Returning with new orders in hand from last week's International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, officials from local companies say the spring market was a resounding success.
Last week, along with Matt Underwood, Keith Nordan and Jenny Wheelock, I attended the North Carolina Main Street Conference in New Bern. This annual meeting was originally scheduled for January but had been postponed due to a winter storm.
New Bern itself is an interesting example of what can be done on Main Street.
Heritage Home Group still has not publicly addressed rumors that it will move its headquarters from St. Louis to High Point, but three newly announced executives will be based in High Point, the St. Louis Business Journal reported Friday.
High Point Market leaders say aggressive efforts to draw more traffic to the furniture trade show are paying off.
The number of furniture buyers registered for the spring market, which ended Thursday, was up 6.85 percent, and the number of buying companies at market was 12.38 percent higher than last fall.
Caldwell County’s unemployment rate in February dropped to 7.1 percent, it’s lowest level since April 2008, the N.C. Department of Commerce reported Wednesday. That’s down a half of a percentage point from January.
Since 1993, 285 people have gone through a 12-week course intended to help them become community leaders.
On Wednesday, about 40 of them gathered again for an update.
Furniture companies from near and far trooped off to High Point last week to get ready for this weekend’s opening of the International Home Furnishings Market, where manufacturers show their latest and greatest to potential buyers.
People with local companies used to be able to stay at home.
It’s been 30 years since the Southern Furniture Market filled the streets of Lenoir with people, flooding local restaurants and other businesses with furniture buyers and salesmen from across the country.
Places in Caldwell County that host performances of traditional music are being invited to add their events to a new website targeting tourists interested in the music.
The site, http://www.blueridgemusicnc.com/, which formally launches next week but already is online, is currently the most visible part of efforts begun last year to create the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, this state’s counterpart to Virginia’s Crooked Road, a 333-mile-long trail through southwestern Virginia.
Hundreds of people made their way through the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center Thursday for the Caldwell is Hiring job fair, sifting through the hundreds of available jobs – the most diverse grouping for the event since it started in 2010.
Dustin Hartley stood with his sleeves rolled up and hair falling in his face as he bent over a throttle body, working to take it apart. Even before the grand opening of his new auto garage in downtown Lenoir, Hartley was hard at work on one of his passions.
Hartley hopes soon to his new auto garage in a long-unused garage site. The building's address is 118 Lewis Price Blvd., but the entrances faces the back of the Lenoir Fire Department on the lot below the street. The place still needs a lot of work -- as Hartley worked, nearby picture frames at the edge of the dusty floor leaned against the battered brick walls, and two large toolboxes overflowed with tools, batteries, papers and cough drops -- but compared to what it was, Hartley has made significant improvements.
The longtime Pearson Co. home furnishings plant in High Point will close later this year, the third plant in the area that will be closed by the company that took over the lines of bankrupt Furniture Brands International four months ago. This time, 86 employees will be affected.
Alex Bernhardt Jr., now the chief executive officer and president of Bernhardt Furniture, and his cousin Rountree Collett, the company’s chief operating officer, both emphasize their company’s deep roots in the community – not the roots of the family that founded the company 125 years ago, but the roots of the workers, many of whom have followed parents and grandparents into the company’s factories here.
Bernhardt Furniture is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding – which was at 2 p.m. March 28, 1889 – with birthday cakes and balloons at each of its factories and its headquarters today.
Members of Lenoir's city council are in agreement on what to spend money on, but not on where to get it from.
High Point and the furniture industry have been abuzz of late with talk that Heritage Home Group could be planning to move its corporate headquarters to the city.
Caldwell County saw a tiny uptick in its unemployment rate for January, but a state official called it an expected seasonal change – and most counties saw a larger seasonal increase.
More importantly, the number of people who reported being employed went up by more than 500.
Leaders at the Foothills Regional Airport should work to market the airport better to the public and potential businesses – the airport’s main problem, participants at a long-term planning meeting said Thursday.
Representatives from local governments, businesses and community colleges met with airport leaders in Morganton to discuss the future of the airport, its challenges and its opportunities. The meeting was the first step in creating a master airport layout plan.
Lenoir may start assessing residents and businesses with a fee to help pay for the cost of handling storm water runoff.
Establishing a storm water utility, giving city employees raises and updating water and sewer facilities were among topics discussed at the first planning meeting with the Lenoir City Council, department heads and city staff for the fiscal 2014-15 budget.
Lenoir agreed Tuesday night to purchase the controversial transload facility in partnership the county, but the deal nearly failed.
After a nearly hour-long closed session at the end of their meeting Tuesday night, members of the Lenoir City Council voted 4-3 to approve the deal.