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Western Carolina Unveils NC Data Dashboard

Matt Bush BPR

Western Carolina University is unveiling NCDataDashboard.org, an online resource that shows key economic indicators and trends for all 100 counties in North Carolina.  The site includes 12,000 unique data series according to the school, including information on employment, workforce, land, infrastructure and industry GDP.  That data is broken down county by county.  Two of those instrumental in creating the resource, WCU economics professors Angela Dills and Edward Lopez, joined BPR's Matt Bush for a Facebook Live chat.  You can listen to the full discussion above or watch it here.  Among the key takeaways from the data for Western North Carolina according to Lopez and Dills is that region has rebounded well from the Great Recession of 2008.  Manufacturing numbers have risen, and the tourism industry has boomed.  But wages have lagged and housing prices have risen, and Lopez noted the issuing of building permits - which the dashboard tracks - is at a seven-year low, something he says is not a good sign in fixing the lack of affordable housing throughout the region.

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.