A Few More Leftovers

    by CLC Staff

    After the overindulgences of our traditional five-day Thanksgiving weekend, we still have a few morsels left to digest before we start all over again in a few weeks.

    Stuffy Turkey

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, North Carolina was the #1 state in the nation in last year for the production of turkey meat (at 1.03 billion pounds) and #2 in the nation for the number of turkeys raised (at 28 million birds) — generating nearly $960 million in gross income for our farmers).

    Our larger poultry industry, which of course includes turkeys, is the #1 agricultural industry in the state, with an economic impact of nearly $40 billion and the creation of more than 150,000 jobs and the support of more than North Carolina’s 5,700 farm families.

    Sampson County leads the state in turkey production (they even have a town called Turkey) followed by Wayne, Union, and Duplin counties. In fact, the winners of last year’s presidential turkey pardon, Chocolate and Chip, were raised at the Circle S. Ranch  in Union County. (Editor’s note: Chocolate and Chip are now enjoying a busy but comfortable retirement as educational poultry ambassadors at N.C. State University.)

    As a nation, we gobble up nearly double the turkey we did 50 years ago — from 8.2 pounds per capita in 1970 to 15.3 pounds per capita in 2021.

    All that said, the traditional Thanksgiving family meal was 26% more expensive this year than when President Biden took office.

    Come Fly With Me

    This past Sunday was the busiest day in U.S. aviation history, according to a post on the X by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which screened 2.91 million commercial airline passengers on the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

    In the 12 days from November 17 (the Friday before Thanksgiving) to today (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving), the agency expects to screen 30 million U.S. air passengers; our own Charlotte Douglas International Airport expects 900,000 passengers in that same period, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

    Meanwhile, Charlotte Douglas — the fifth busiest airport in the world — has been ranked the 12th best airport in the country by the Wall Street Journal. The scores are based on measures of reliability, value and convenience:

    “Each airport is evaluated on 30 factors that span the trip, from buying a ticket to arriving at a final destination. Using data from government agencies, a survey of travelers conducted by our research partner Dynata and other sources, the Journal’s rankings highlight the airports that boast on-time flights, short waits throughout the trip and the amenities that travelers like best. The airports are separated into large and midsize categories based on the number of passengers they accommodate.”

    Charlotte Douglas ranked high in overall Value & Convenience, particularly shining in a number of subcategories: CLT ranked first in the country for Wi-Fi/Outlets, second for Bathrooms, third for Water Filling stations, fourth for Gate Seats, fifth for Shopping and On-Time arrival, and sixth for Child Facilities.

    Remember the Heroes

    November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, and the State of North Carolina was named by Forbes as one of the 50 best employers in the nation for veterans. In fact, was the only state government included among 150 private corporations and federal government agencies, coming in at #46. The list includes come familiar heavy-hitters from the private sector, including Apple, Google, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Raytheon, Bechtel, Booz Allen, IBM, Amazon, Intel, and General Dynamics. Only three other companies headquartered in North Carolina made the top 150: Duke Energy (#7), Bank of America (#61), and Atrium Health (#107).

    In addition to having the third largest military population in the entire country, the military accounts for North Carolina’s second largest economic sector, supports 578,000 jobs and contributes over $30 billion in personal income and $66 billion in gross state product. We are also home to over 720,000 veterans.

    “This ranking affirms that North Carolina is the most military and veteran friendly state in the nation,” said Governor Cooper in a statement. “Our veterans have a powerful impact on our economy and businesses, and we will continue to assist them in any way we can during their transition to civilian life and beyond.”

    Forbes surveyed 8,500 veterans working at companies or agencies which employ more than 1,000 people to compile the list (North Carolina’s state government employs approximately 81,000 people.

    “Our North Carolina veterans bring the benefit of extensive training and knowledge to communities across the Great State of North Carolina,” said North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs Secretary Walter Gaskin. “They are an invaluable resource for our businesses and The North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs constantly strives to improve the quality of life for our military members and their families as they transition to civilian life. As a State, we value each man, woman, and child who has sacrificed in defense of our nation, and we are proud to call them our own.”

    Last year, WalletHub ranked North Carolina in the top ten best states for military retirees.

    The Tar Heel State is home to seven military installations, including Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg), Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Pope Army Airfield, Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and the Coast Guard Base Support Unit in Elizabeth City.

    The General Assembly has worked tirelessly over the last decade to cement North Carolina’s place as the number-one state for the military, active-duty service members, their families and our veterans. This includes exempting military retirement pay from state income taxation, expanding in-state tuition and scholarships for veterans and their children, making it easier for military families to find jobs, increasing funding for our state’s military programs and allowing excused absences for military children so they can spend more time with a parents before their deployment.

    Most recently, Speaker of the House Tim Moore and Majority Leader John Bell highlighted funding in the state budget for the Veterans Justice Initiative. This program, launched by The Independence Fund, “assists law enforcement agencies, first responders, and frontline workers to understand the nuances and true scope of veterans’ mental health obstacles after they return home from service,” according to a press release from the Majority Leader’s office.

    We Need a Little Christmas

    The White House Christmas Tree arrived in grand style last week, carried on a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Washington pulled by two Clydesdales (named Ben and Winston). The magnificent 19-foot Fraser fir tree comes from Cline Church Nursery in Ashe County and it marks the 15th tree from North Carolina — the most of any state in the nation — to become the official White House Christmas tree. It is traditionally displayed in the Blue Room and will greet tens of thousands of guests during the holiday season.

    Yule not be surprised to learn then that Christmas trees are a big (and growing) business in North Carolina. We are the number-two state for Christmas tree production, with over four million trees cut last year from 854 farms covering over nearly 40,000 acres. Total Christmas trees sales here in 2022 was over $86 million.

    So you may not have thought about it last week when you and the fam were chowing down on Thanksgiving dinner, but these tidbits — inspiring us with the holiday spirit — are just a few more reasons why we here at CLC are thankful to live in the great State of North Carolina.