Rocky Mount mayor looks for economic hope

Posted June 13, 2011

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— In a town where unemployment tops 12 percent, pessimism about the economy is hard to avoid, Rocky Mount Mayor David W. Combs said Monday. 

"We've had some tough times and got some challenges, but we've also got a lot of successes along the way," Combs said.

One of those successes is home shopping giant QVC, which is growing at a crucial time for thousands of people looking for work.

"They're expanding, about a $70 million expansion, adding about 200 jobs," Combs said.

He also noted a company that produces Honda parts in the Tarboro area will be adding about 50 high-technology jobs. 

North Carolina, the nation’s 10th largest state in terms of population, has the country’s 10th worst jobless rate at 9.7 percent in April.

"I think we're all worried about the economy. When you got a 9.8 (percent) unemployment rate, you're worried about the economy," Sen. Kay Hagan said.

Job creation was on President Barack Obama's agenda when he visited Cree Inc. in Durham on Monday. The company, which makes energy-efficient lighting, is located more than 65 miles from Rocky Mount.

Rocky Mount Mayor David W. Combs Rocky Mount mayor talks economic issues

During the visit, Obama unveiled a massive engineering training program to help get U.S. manufacturing back on its feet after the recession.

The "all-hands-on-deck strategy," he said, would include incentives for students to earn college degrees in engineering, math and technology, public and private funding for university programs in those fields and more internships for students to gain experience before graduating. The goal is to train 10,000 people a year, he said.

"What he announced today, I think, is great, but I think the problem you get into with so many people is they can't wait six months. They can't wait 12 months," Combs said. 


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  • zippingz75 Jun 15, 2011

    Oboma unveiled a massive training program!!!!.what a laugh! we lost 1.5 million jobs since his rise to the throne. 9.1 unemployment,economy at it's lowest,failed policies he promised,the greatest country in the world is now at the mercy of other countries like china to bail us out of a depression.give me a break!I'll keep my religon and guns,you can keep your CHANGE......

  • mrual Jun 14, 2011

    me2you .. we have live in Rocky Mount for 8yrs now NOT all of Rocky Mount is a bed of crime... how would you know you live in Cary
    yes there are parts of Rocky Mount that has Crime Ridden Areas as all Cities have areas that have Crime as Cary has the Same

  • mrual Jun 14, 2011

    Not all of Rocky Mount is drug trade and prostitution problem must live in the Mayors and City Council Downtown Afghanistan area ...waste of money

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jun 14, 2011

    If you include the drug trade and prostitution, Rocky Mount's unemployment rate is actually only about 4%.

  • hi_i_am_wade Jun 14, 2011

    First Hardee's was bought, then the corporate offices were taken out of Rocky Mount. Then Centura was bought and then the corporate offices were moved to Raleigh. Those are 2 major companies that left the area. A small city doesn't recover easily from that. Things started to go downhill when Hardee's was bought and moved.

  • xgen69 Jun 14, 2011

    I agree with pretty much all the comments made thus far. Although, I"ve been away for 15 years, I came back 8 months ago to find no "REAL" change in the city. I agree the entire council of Nash and Edgecombe need to be replaced and folks with new ideas need to move into these positions. There has never been "A City on the Rise" and Rocky Mount government will not recognize it has a more diverse culture than "Black & White". However, you can not open a decent nightclub without having fights and gunshots here in this city. There are no "great" places to go for the "Over 21" or the "Under 21" crowds unless you really enjoy just sitting at a crowded bar with no real dance floor area. NC, Rocky Mount, and many other cities in this state need to realize how diverse their people really are and begin catering around that fact and start living in "NOW" and not in 1970's and 1980's. The many laws and operations of the NC government and local governments do not apply to today's culture! PERIOD!!!

  • mrual Jun 14, 2011

    In the real world a mayor would not be allowed to be mayor and own a major Real Estate in the city of Rocky Mount its called a conflict of interest. and no New Business would want too come to Rocky Mount Due to the HIGH Utilities they would have to pay so there is no incentive ...

  • sahocco Jun 14, 2011

    I think part of the problem in this city is not that there arent any jobs is that people dont want to follow rules and conditions of employment like getting to work on time, not calling out, not calling at all when you cant make it etc.. i at least know of two big businesses in this town that daily deal with issues like these from there employees so they end up getting fired. Day in day out is the same situation lets get it together folks.. WE make the economy and it takes an employer & employee to make it happen working together. With that being said also...Good pay, good employer= happy employee, reliable employee becasue the employer has a major role as well.

  • luvmyjackrascal Jun 14, 2011

    The entire leadership of the City of Rocky Mount needs to be overhauled, but I don't think the voters will do it anytime soon

    Thats exactly right! The city council is a joke, and could care less about the people.

  • luvmyjackrascal Jun 14, 2011

    "I think we're all worried about the economy. When you got a 9.8 (percent) unemployment rate, you're worried about the economy," Sen. Kay Hagan said.

    Ya think?