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Local economy remains worrisome for many

Two-thirds of those surveyed in a new WRAL News Poll said they believe North Carolina's economy will be the same or worse next year than it is now.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — More than 2,700 people attended a Tuesday job fair sponsored by WRAL and the Capital Area Workforce Development Board, hoping to latch on with one of dozens of companies at the event looking to fill more than 1,000 openings.

Randall Parks, who has been out of work since May 2009, said he remains hopeful of landing a job.

"I can see things improving just a little bit, but at the same time, it doesn't seem like it's coming fast enough," Parks said.

Others at the WRAL Joblink Career Expo in downtown Raleigh were less optimistic.

"They keep saying it's getting better, but I don't see any evidence," said Raymond Piatt, who has been looking for a job for about a year. "If I don't get a job soon, I'm going to lose everything."

Piatt's pessimism is in line with the findings of a new WRAL News Poll, in which two-thirds of those surveyed said they believe North Carolina's economy will be the same or worse next year than it is now.

"When you talk to people on the street, there's clearly a lot of concern and worry," said Tim Minton, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County.

Minton said he sees positive signs in the economy. Residential building permits were up by 16 percent in Wake County through the first eight months of this year, and the local unemployment rate is down to 8 percent.

Still, he said, he's concerned that public perception about the economy becomes reality.

"You have to be careful with perception because it makes our decisions for us. No matter what the facts are, it's how we feel when it comes to spending our money," he said.

Until people start spending, companies will hold back on hiring.

"At some point, we've got to start investing in our community and in our economy because that's the only way it's really going to get going again," Minton said.



Bruce Mildwurf, Reporter
Tom Normanly, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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