President Obama speaks in North Carolina today

David Gura Oct 17, 2011

President Obama speaks in North Carolina today

David Gura Oct 17, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Now that the Senate has voted down President Obama’s jobs package, the focus is on passing individual elements of the plan. Today, the President will
push lawmakers to do so while touring North Carolina by bus.

And as Marketplace’s David Gura reports, he’s likely to get a couple of very different views
of the economy in the Tarheel state.

David Gura: There are really two North Carolinas. One is what’s called the Research Triangle, home to tech companies and universities. And for the most part, it’s doing fine.

Patrick Conway is an economist at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Patrick Conway: It’s when you step outside that rather limited central area that you find greater difficulties.

Eastern North Carolina is farm country, and the western part of the state has been transformed.

Conway: North Carolina was the state with the highest rate of manufacturing employment right up until the mid-1990s.

President Obama will visit rural Wilkes County. It was once a hotbed of furniture factories and textile mills.

Jeff Garstka: Obviously, over the years, a lot of that has declined, although we’re seeing some come back.

Jeff Garstka heads the economic development corporation there. Within a decade, unemployment jumped from 2 percent to 12 percent. Earlier this year, President Obama visited a successful new chipmaker maker in Durham. That’s 150 miles away — and a world apart — from Wilkes County.

I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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