State News

Perdue positive on N.C.'s economic recovery

Posted October 13, 2009 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2009 7:37 p.m. EDT

— There's a glimmer of recovery in North Carolina's economy – according to the governor.

Speaking to the Global TransPark Authority Board on Tuesday, Gov. Bev Perdue highlighted the importance of projects like the highly criticized state-owned industrial park, created in 1991 to help spark the economy in the eastern part of the state.

Since then, the Global TransPark has received more than $80 million in state and federal funds.

Spirit Aerosystems, which makes aircraft for Boeing and other aerospace companies, broke ground last year on a new production facility and expects to hire more than 1,000 employees within the next three years.

It says it has already secured enough aircraft contracts to hire hundreds of workers, and it plans to start production by late 2010.

"I think with Spirit and the other smaller companies coming, we are really on our road to success," Perdue said.

The state suffered a setback last week after Dell Inc. announced that it is closing its Winston-Salem desktop-computer manufacturing plant and laying off more than 900 employees.

The Texas-based company was promised more than $300 million in state and local incentives to open the plant in 2005. In exchange, it was required to invest $100 million, create 1,700 jobs by September 2010 and maintain those jobs for 10 more years.

If those terms weren't met, the company would forfeit the incentive package.

"They are going to return their incentives. I feel good about that," Perdue said.

State leaders are also seeing highways as a road to economic recovery. Millions of federal stimulus dollars have rolled into the state this year for transportation projects.

"We're appreciative of getting those funds, and we think we've done a good job of putting them to work quickly," Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said.

Conti said those funds mean better roads and more jobs.

"We have thousands of people working on projects all over North Carolina," he said.