Supporting Charlotte’s minority-owned small businesses

A study released this week by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute sheds light on the unique challenges minority-owned small businesses face and how the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community can better support these enterprises, which are key to community well-being and wealth-building. Defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees, small businesses comprise 99.9% of all businesses. Small […]

How gig work is changing during the pandemic

Kevin Ross runs a pet care service from his home in Indian Trail through By mid-March, as cases of COVID-19 were rapidly rising in the US, his typically steady stream of clients began to dwindle. When states began issuing stay-at-home orders, many of his clients started working from home or cutting out travel. That’s […]

Post-coronavirus, everything will change in cities — or not

After COVID-19, cities will change forever. Here’s a sampling of predictions I’m seeing: People will avoid close physical encounters. Or maybe not. Maybe they’ll flock to crowded bars and restaurants after weeks of lockdown. Stores, bludgeoned by pandemic closings and high rents, will fail. So will smaller, non-chain restaurants. Cities will become blander and more […]

How jobs contribute to the racial wealth gap

This is the fourth in an ongoing series, based on a report by the Urban Institute. The report was compiled with support from Bank of America, ​which partners with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Institute for Social Capital on research that provides insight into community initiatives. Join us Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on […]

The gendered implications of COVID-19

We are exposing women to COVID-19. We are killing women as they are trying to save us. — Dr. Michelle Meggs What are the gendered implications of COVID-19 for women doing the work that keeps many of us alive? At the front lines of this pandemic, women are overburdened, an unseen labor force that keeps […]

Airlines, facing a crisis, make up a big part of the Charlotte region’s economic heft

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. In a joint leader to government leaders this week, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker […]

Retail workers, many hit by store closures, make up a big part of our workforce

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 […]

Coronavirus impacts food service workers, who play a major role in our regional economy

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: […]

Our population is more concentrated in cities ⁠— and increasingly diverse

There’s a common narrative about people in rural areas seeking opportunities: they should go to the big city and leave the country behind. Rural counties are often seen as hollowed out or in decline, while cities and their adjacent suburbs boom. While population in the Carolinas Urban-Rural Connection study area has become much more concentrated […]

Homegrown economic development: Turning to entrepreneurship

A string of high-profile business relocations and corporate expansions have boosted Charlotte in recent months, from a Lowe’s technology hub with 2,000 employees to the headquarters of international firm Honeywell to the merged bank Truist moving to Charlotte. At the same time, local leaders have also been trying to increase support for entrepreneurs. In 2017, […]