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Kenan Institute 2022 Grand Challenge: Stakeholder Capitalism
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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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Join the Center for the Business of Health for the 12th annual UNC Business of Healthcare Conference, "The Role of Innovation in Value-Based Health" on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022 at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.

As a destination for both migration and business growth, North Carolina must reassess the capabilities of local entrepreneurial and small-business ecosystems to ensure that its diverse population of aspiring entrepreneurs and small-business owners has equitable access to opportunities.

COVID hit North Carolina hard, with 3.1 million cases so far and over 26,000 deaths. Low-income communities in North Carolina were especially hard hit, with higher rates of COVID infections and deaths, sudden loss of jobs with little buffer, disruption of families and communities. In this paper, we conduct a quantitative assessment of COVID-19’s impact on low-income North Carolinians and specifically on a subset of lower income North Carolina counties that are served by the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA).

Please join us for “How Leadership Is Changing for Your Generation,” an exclusive conversation with Zach Clayton of Three Ships and Bill George of Harvard Business School. Their fireside chat is offered through the Dean’s Speaker Series, hosted by the Kenan Institute in partnership with UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Interim Dean Jennifer Conrad.

China’s remarkable economic transition was going to face slowing growth at some point, but misallocation of resources and the country’s zero-COVID policy further complicate the picture. 

Nonwage benefits have become more important to employers and employees alike. A new look shows where you work plays a far greater role in the level of benefits you receive than it does your paycheck.

COVID-19 first caused chaos in our labor markets with the lockdowns of 2020, which sent unemployment rates soaring to all-time highs. It has continued to disrupt labor markets into 2022 as worries about health risks have kept workers at home, exasperating labor shortages. Looking forward, as we learn to live with COVID, we will also have to adapt to the effects of long COVID, when symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty breathing and “brain fog” appear after COVID. In this commentary, I attempt to assess the risk to our labor markets from long COVID.

Labor force participation rose in July and again in August, providing the Federal Reserve a victory in its efforts to boost participation rates closer to pre-pandemic levels, Barron’s reports. Rising prices may be sending some people back to the job market, Chief Economist Gerald Cohen told the publication. “There are help wanted signs everywhere and so you can get to the point where [people] are saying, look there are opportunities out there and let me go take advantage of them,” he said.

North Carolina’s 100 counties have experienced an uneven pattern of growth and development over the past decade or so, even during the pandemic, when the state was a magnet for migration. At one end, metropolitan and amenity-rich counties captured most of the growth between April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021; at the other, 21 counties experienced net out-migration. Given these disparities, the Urban Investment Strategies Center offers an approach using targeted economic development strategies.

Post 2020 Census population estimates covering the first fifteen months of the pandemic are analyzed. The results reveal COVID-19’s impact on the geo-demography of the state, highlight disturbing demographic trends, and raise pressing questions requiring immediate policy attention if North Carolina is to remain attractive as a place to live, work, play, and do business.

Small-business owners say they’re just beginning to recover from the sudden blow that hobbled many of them during the early 2020 pandemic restrictions. Now mixed economic messages have them wondering what to do next, according to a Washington Post story. “There is so much that’s up in the air, and uncertainty affects small businesses much more so than it does larger ones,” said institute Director of Research Paige Ouimet.

July employment numbers suggest that the economy isn’t heading into recession but instead is accelerating as the third quarter begins, Chief Economist Gerald Cohen said during the institute’s monthly economic briefing Aug. 5. “It’s still post-COVID recovery, but … we’ve surpassed the pre-COVID levels by 32,000,” Cohen said, as reported by the Triangle Business Journal.