Experts: Workers need training to keep Triangle economy growing

Posted January 5, 2011

— Two economists said Wednesday that the Triangle's economy is showing steady growth following the recession but that people will need more training to maintain that momentum.

Matthew Martin, senior vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va., and John Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo, told members of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce that consumer confidence is up locally, average incomes have risen and the home construction industry is rebounding.

The Triangle is paving the road to recovery, they said, because it has growing industries like health care, information technology, education and government.

Yet, they said, the number of jobs being created won't replace many of the positions lost during the recession.

"The vast majority of jobs that are being created are going to be for the younger, more professional, computer-literate people," Silvia said.

In order to compete, he said, unemployed people will need to be trained for those skilled positions.

"These (unskilled factory) jobs are not coming back, and all you good ol' boys who think that you don't need to go to college or community college and learn something, (that) you're going to work hard ... it's ridiculous," Silvia said.

Wells Fargo economist John Silvia Experts: Workers need training to keep Triangle economy growing

Enrollment at Wake Technical Community College has jumped 38 percent since 2007 as people seek extra training, President Stephen Scott said. More than 18,000 students have enrolled for the spring semester, and enrollment remains open for another week.

"Work force development is the primary role of Wake Tech," Scott said. "We are training people for the jobs that actually exist today and the ones that are going to exist tomorrow."

State Treasurer Janet Cowell told chamber members that she is calling on lawmakers to change North Carolina's tax structure to stabilize the state's finances and make it more competitive.

Cowell proposed expanding personal and corporate income taxes and the state sales tax by reducing the number of exemptions and credits. At the same time, she said, the tax rate on each could be rolled back by 1 percentage point.

"No citizen or business should have to face the level of unpredictability, complexity and lack of equity that exists in our current tax structure,” she said.

Cowell plans to tour the state next week, talking to community leaders about her plan. She has stops scheduled:

  • Monday at the Charlotte Regional Partnership, 550 S. Caldwell St., 12:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday at Grandover Conference Center in Greensboro at 10:45 a.m.
  • Thursday at the Eastern Regional Partnership meeting at the Greenville Hilton, 207 SW Greenville Blvd. at 9:30 a.m.
  • and Thursday at the Wilson Chamber of Commerce, 200 W. Nash St. at noon

The economists said that North Carolina consumers will likely remain cautious with money and spending, which means only a slight or moderate increase in the state's sales tax revenue for the year.


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  • dlk13ster Jan 6, 2011

    One of the biggest problems facing American workers today is the fact that we no longer have a monopoly on educated, skilled labor; as China and India rapidly industrialize, they are putting out a highly educated and competitively skilled labor force that not only dwarfs ours in sheer NUMBERS, they are also willing to work for much less, with fewer labor laws and regulatory protections.

    And bear in mind, this is a problem that was not generated in the last 2 years (under BHO), or even the last 10 (under GWB). Chinese and foreign schools have been outperforming ours for DECADES; and while the trend has sped up exponentially in the past decade or so, blame for that generally bipartisan.

    That's why I support more financial assistance for those who seek graduate and professional degrees; but NOT in the form of student loans, since their debt burden is already so high as to discourage many students from taking the financial and credit risk of even trying.

  • theinstallman Jan 5, 2011

    if you get trained for these jobs how long will it take to ship these jobs out of the country reeducation only works for the teachers and i am not sure i would take job advice from bankers that have to be bailed out by good old boys

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 5, 2011

    "The vast majority of jobs that are being created are going to be for the younger, more professional, computer-literate people,"

    The jobs are going to the younger people because they cost the employer less than older experienced workers.

    Age discrimination is still alive and rampant in corporate America.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 5, 2011

    "If were blaming cap and trade, what do blame for the last 20 years of jobs going overseas? - beckerunc"

    Clinton did when he got NAFTA approved and got the WTO to admit China.

  • geosol Jan 5, 2011

    No, all we need is to cut taxes for billionaires and make everyone go to private schools. Training those "little people" is inconsequential.

  • dws Jan 5, 2011

    Silvia failed to mention something else.......many of those "professional" jobs he referenced are not coming back either....with the debt load we are now burdened with, it will be like treading water with boat anchors

  • beckerunc Jan 5, 2011

    If were blaming cap and trade, what do blame for the last 20 years of jobs going overseas?

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 5, 2011

    When cap and trade is passed and takes affect the last manufacturing jobs will disappear.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jan 5, 2011

    I know of plenty of people with college education that can't find a job.

  • bmorgan65 Jan 5, 2011

    I do not appreciate the comment that John Silvia made about the good old boys. If it wasn't for us good old boys nothing in NC would be built. Who does he think are the ones doing the construction, farming and hard labor jobs working in the rain, snow, freezing weather and the hot 100 degree temperture! Some trade work can not be learned out of a book. It takes hard work. sweat and the time of someone teaching the on the job training that is not learned from a book. If you take the workers with the knowledge that needs to be passed on to younger generations out of the mix, who will the learn from.

    One of the good old boys.