Economic Forecast, Volunteer Appreciation, Veterans Luncheon, Parkside Tree Lighting, and the Dedication of Ed Yerha Park

Ted Abernathy Economic Forecast

Wednesday morning I attended the Economic Forecast presentation by Ted Abernathy. He presented 92 slides with tons of data. Here are some of my takeaways from that presentation:

  • Cary continues to be ranked at the top in many national categories. For example: #1 to attract corporate headquarters, #1 most resilient economies, #4 healthiest housing market, and #1 safest city
  • A look back at predictions from 10 years ago after the recession: slowing population growth, entrepreneurs will come back, North Carolina regains competitive position, mounting college debt, declining home values, retirement tsunami, and escalating political discourse. Predictions were right on track.
  • The last few years were built on the assumption that the US, Russia, and China would work together. This change is significantly impacting our economy.
  • Technological changes continue to accelerate.
  • Major weather events are becoming more common.
  • Politics continues to get worse.
  • Current State of Economy:
    • Inflation near record high
  • Unemployment near record low
  • Hiring remains strong
  • Retail sales steady
  • Trade deficit improving
  • GDP growth slowing
  • Interest rates rising
  • Stock market falling
  • National debt…
  • Large gap between job openings and hiring rates.
  • Since Covid, NC has seen an increase of 4.3% in jobs. About half the state in the country are losing jobs.
  • Raleigh/Cary metro area has seen a 30.7% growth in jobs since 2011 which is the highest in the state.
  • Raleigh/Cary metro area has seen a 6.7% growth in jobs since COVID.
  • Raleigh/Cary metro area is expected to have the largest population growth in the next 10 years with 19.2% growth.
  • Raleigh/Cary metro area has seen growth beyond state and national averages in all types of jobs. For example: construction, trade, transport, utilities, financial, profession and tech, and leisure and hospitality.
  • Consumer spending has slowed while disposable income is well below pre-COVID rates.
  • Personal savings has dropped to about 3.5%.
  • Business conditions remain very good.
  • Corporate profit margins are about the highest they have been at 15.5%.
  • Inflation rate is the highest it has been since the 1970s at 8.4.
  • Countries around the world experiencing inflation. Germany’s inflation is above 10%.
  • Inflation rate breakdown – top dozen:
    • Food at work or school 91.4%
    • Airfare 42.9%
    • Utilities Piped Gas 33.1%
    • Butter and Margarine 32.2%
    • Eggs 30.5%
    • Health Insurance 28.2%
    • Public Transportation 27.1%
    • Energy 19.8%
    • Gas 18.2%
    • Poultry 17.2%
    • Electricity 15.5%
    • Milk 15.2%
  • Commodity Prices are starting to come down but well above pre-COVID.
  • Employment costs are rising about 5.1% a year.
  • Average price of home has increased more than 45% in North Carolina the last two years.
  • Between March 2020 and April 2021 half of all US adults had experienced some change in their work.
  • Labor Shortages by 2030:
    • Germany will see a shortage of up to 10 million
    • Brazil will have a shortage of up to 40.9 million
    • Canada’s labor deficit of up to 2.3 million
    • China’s shortage of up to 24.5 million
  • US population growth has changed from 0.99% in 2001 to 0.12% in 2021.
  • Working age immigrants is about the same as it was in 2018.
  • Millennials are not having that many children.
  • US Labor Force (18 and older) is about where it was pre-pandemic.
  • Two income families are declining.
  • Participation rate of those eligible to work has been declining the last 20 years and is currently around 62%.
  • Work force participation from 1960 until now:
    • Increased from 68% to 82% in the 25 to 54 age group
    • Increased from 55% to 57% in the 16 to 24 age group
    • Remained the same at 40% for the 55 and over age group.
  • For decades, there has been a steady decline in the number of potential workers in the 25 to 54 age group. The largest age group is now 55 and over.
  • Labor productivity (non-farming) has declined 2 ½% since Covid.
  • 68% of people who quit jobs do not have a next job. 57% of those are looking in a different field.
  • 40% of US workers say they will leave their jobs in the near future.
  • There is a shortage of workers in critical positions: soldiers, truckers, teachers, mechanics police officers, and healthcare workers to name a few.
  • North Carolina is ranked as the best or one of the best states for business by multiple agencies.
  • North Carolina ranked 4th for business climate, workforce, and innovation.
  • North Carolina has one of the top 10 business tax climates in the nation.
  • North Carolina ranks in the best third in the nation for legal climate.
  • North Carolina ranks 11th for Internet, 27th for Energy, 29th for Transportation, and 22nd overall.
  • North Carolina ranks 17th for Innovation.
    • 14th for Science/Tech Employment
    • 23rd for Patents
    • 16th for Venture Capital
    • 25th for Immigration of Knowledge Workers
    • 26th for High-Tech Exports
    • 9th for Inward FDI
    • 33rd for Broadband Subscription Rate
    • 7th for Labor Productivity Manufacturing
    • 21st for Workforce Education
  • North Carolina is one of the top 10 states in Tech Sector Employment growth for the last five years.
  • North Carolina is 2nd in Workforce Development in the South Atlantic behind Virginia.
  • North Carolina is projected to have population growth in the next 10 years.
  • North Carolina’s labor force participation rate is under 60% with the national average at 61.7%.
  • Cary employment has grown from 74,185 in 2012 to 95,513 in 2022.
  • Cary has the lowest unemployment rate in the triangle at 2.8%.
  • Cary’s annual residential permitting has leveled off over the last 10 years.
  • Cary’s annual commercial permitting has more than doubled over the last 10 years.
  • In 2010 Cary permitted 27% of Wake’s Total. Today this is at 7%.
  • Average price of a residential property in Cary has risen from $312,116 in 2012 to $506,575 in 2022.

Volunteer Appreciation Event

Wednesday night I joined council members and staff for a volunteer appreciation event held at Colletta’s in Fenton. It was an opportunity to thank all our volunteers especially the outgoing board members. And we also welcomed the incoming volunteer board members. I was a great time in a great atmosphere. Thanks to Colletta’s for being our host.

N&O Inquiry about Wastewater Samples

Thursday I was contacted by the News and Observer and asked about Cary’s extended agreement to continue providing wastewater samples to the county and state for COVID-19 and other disease research. Here is the information we provided:

  • Cary signed the updated Memo of Understanding with Wake County on October 20, 2022
  • Wake County Health and Human Services signed on October 21, 2022
  • The updated Memo of Understanding runs through June 30, 2025
  • Generally speaking, wastewater samples are collected twice a week from Cary’s three wastewater treatment facilities.  The samples are picked up by a State Lab and analyzed for Covid, (SARS-COV-2).  The information is used and shared with NC Department of Health and Human Services and CDC through the NC Wastewater Monitoring Network to help track COVID-19 trends along with other public health data. Cary extended our agreement with Wake County to continue COVID-19 wastewater monitoring for an additional 3 years and to add other infectious diseases such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and other health-related issues to the panel for surveillance and tracking.
  • Overall, this ongoing and evolving work represents one important way Cary can support our public health agencies with monitoring and tracking Covid and other infectious diseases.  More information about Cary’s wastewater testing for Covid can found on our webpage.

Veteran’s Luncheon

Friday I joined several council members, county commissioners, legislators, and Congresswoman Ross in a Volunteer Luncheon held in the ballroom at Prestonwood Country Club. Council member Jack Smith was the emcee and the featured speaker was Terry Westbrook who is the Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for the State of North Carolina. A special thanks to Prestonwood County Club who donated the space for the event allowing the town to only pay for the food. The ballroom was at capacity and there was even a waiting list.

I was honored to be in the presence of so many heroes who served to protect our freedom. I had my picture made with the only surviving World War II veteran, Mr. Young, who was 94 years old. We are blessed to have so many willing to serve. Thanks to all our veterans!

The event was probably one of our best thanks to American Legion Post 67 who arranged the flag presentation and coordinated the speaker. A special thanks to the Cary staff from the Senior Center who helped organize this event and who were all present.

Parkside Tree Lighting

Saturday night I had the joy of participating in the tree lighting ceremony for Parkside Commons. Attendees were treated to man made snow (even though it was 80 degrees), karaoke, arts and crafts including face painting, train rides, and of course Santa Claus. At dusk I invited the kids in attendance to join me in flipping the switch and lighting the tree.

Ed Yerha Park Sign Dedication

Sunday afternoon I had the honor of emceeing the park dedication for Ed Yerha. The town’s policy for naming parks states that this should only occur for individuals who have shown “outstanding accomplishments by an individual for the good of the community.” Ed Yerha did this and much more.

He and his wife relocated to Cary in 1995 and he began his early years of service to Cary by serving on the Planning & Zoning Board, including acting as the Chair. Following that, he spent time serving on the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Ed Yerha was appointed to an At-Large seat on Cary’s Council on August 23, 2012. He spent the past decade representing and serving Cary’s citizens as a Council Member and as Mayor Pro-Tem.

Ed Yerha has been an active part of multiple groups and roles in Cary including: Council Liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission, Council Liaison to the Senior Advisory Board, Sister Cities Commission Vice Chair, Town Center Area Plan Citizens Advisory Committee, Downtown Parking Committee, Historic Preservation Master Plan Advisory Committee, Historic Preservation Survey Committee, Council Liaison to the Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel Board, Council Liaison to Cary150 Task Force, Member of Triangle J Center of Region Enterprise work group, regular speaker at the UNC School of Government, and more.

Ed Yerha is perhaps most well-known for his being a fountain of information of, and an advocate for, Cary’s History. Throughout Cary’s Sesquicentennial anniversary year, Council Member Yerha shared a piece of Cary’s history every month during his History Moments at the beginning of Council Meetings. In addition to the many ways he has educated us with his knowledge, he has also helped bring action to the preservation of Cary’s history through supporting the creation of Cary’s first Historic Preservation Commission and serving as the Council Liaison to the Commission since its creation in 2014.

The dedication ceremony began shortly after Ed Yerha arrived with a fire and police escort to the park from his home. Remarks were provided by the town manager, town attorney, town clerk, and me. In Ed’s typical fashion he spoke to the crowd for about ten minutes both entertaining them and educating them.

I am blessed to know Ed and am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve with him. He truly represents the best of Cary. Thank you, Ed, for all you have done!

Town Manager’s Report

Sean’s Message

I hope you will join staff and I on Sunday as we celebrate the sign dedication for the renamed Ed Yerha Park in honor of our dear friend, Ed Yerha, who devote countless hours to making Cary a great place to live, work, and play. The event is November 6 at 2 p.m. at Ed Yerha Park. To recognize the occasion, History Moment signs have been placed along the greenway between the greenway entrance by Davis Drive Middle School and Ed Yerha Park. 

In other news, with the upcoming holiday, there will not be a Council Weekly Report on November 11. However, I will be sending you information early next week in preparation for the Quarterly meeting on Thursday. 

The Carying Place “Journey Home” Gala

The Carying Place hosted their annual gala this week and Council Member Carissa Johnson served as a guest speaker along with Ralph Ashworth and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Rennie Curran. Carissa shared Cary’s vision for diverse housing options for all residents and celebrated The Carying Place’s long-standing history of supporting those most vulnerable in the community. The Carying Place is Cary’s largest organization that provides both housing and supportive services to families with fragile housing. Their housing and programming are supported by Cary’s Community Development Block Grant program.

Advisory Board Volunteer Appreciation

On November 2, Council, staff, and advisory board members gathered at Colletta in Fenton for a night of appreciation for Cary’s Council-appointed advisory board volunteers. During the event, Mayor Weinbrecht shared remarks welcoming new members and recognizing the 15 outgoing members who have completed terms on advisory boards.

Veterans Luncheon at Prestonwood County Club

Cary’s annual Veterans Day luncheon is back! After two years of hosting a drive-thru affair, we gathered in-person to celebrate and honor our veterans. Cary partnered with Prestonwood Country Club to create a truly unique experience by providing a meal and entertainment to over 300 veterans.

Terry Westbrook, Assistant Secretary of NC Veterans Affairs inspired attendees with a keynote address. Additional guests from the Department of Veterans Affairs included Charles Lee, Robert Johnson, and Edison Platt. Council member Jack Smith emceed the event.

Special guests included Mayor Weinbrecht and Council Members Ya Liu, Jennifer Robinson and Jack Smith; Wake County Commissioners Vickie Adamson, Matt Calabria, Maria Cervania and Susan Evans; NC State Representative Julie Von Haefen; and US House Representative Deborah Ross.

Unsafe Building Use

Because of life/safety building codes associated with an assembly use, staff from the Fire and Inspections and Permits departments have had to post as unsafe the Bethel City Church, 7000 Hospitality Court. The congregation can no longer gather there until these issues are addressed, which we believe may impact as many as 200 parishioners. We understand the disruption this will cause and will continue to work with the occupants and owners. If you have any questions, please contact Chief Cooper. 

DEI Task Force

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending the Human Relations, Inclusion, & Diversity (HRID) Task Force meeting. This meeting presented an opportunity for Task Force members to introduce themselves, learn about my leadership style and life experiences, and the expectations for the work of the task force. The Task Force members were able to learn more about the Reimagining Policing Initiative and affordable housing from me, and I affirmed the pace of the Task Force’s work to date.

Welcome to Cary!

As part of the branding rollout, some of our major events and venues have started integrating Cary’s new logo. WakeMed Soccer Park has a new entrance sign to welcome all visitors to the park and is visible to drivers along E. Chatham Street. We anticipate approximately 30,000 people will be attending the ACC soccer and NCAA soccer matches during the months of November and December, which created a great opportunity to make a splash with the new brand!

Public Hearing for the Historic Nancy Jones House

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has studied the historic significance and architectural integrity of the historic Nancy Jones House, located at 9321 Chapel Hill Road and owned by Cary, and has determined it is eligible for designation as a Cary Historic Landmark. In addition to being federally listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a local landmark designation would show that the Nancy Jones House is valued by the community, deserves the honor of being a historic landmark, and would ensure preservation through a legal ordinance.
The HPC will hold a public hearing on the proposed landmark designation ordinance on November 9. Following the hearing, the HPC will forward the ordinance along with the commission’s recommendation to Town Council for the required second public hearing and Council’s final action. 

Greenway Bike & Wine

In an effort to further “Activate Cary Greenways,” an inaugural Greenway Bike & Wine event was held this past Sunday afternoon. Registrants enjoyed a 10-mile bike ride along White Oak Creek Greenway and learned about Cary’s greenways as well as conservation efforts along the western end of White Oak Creek. Participants then spent the afternoon enjoying hors d’oeuvres, wine, and lovely jazz saxophone music by Bond Lake. Cary businesses were activated to make this event special and to encourage participants to explore and curate their own experiences along Cary’s greenways. Keep an eye on the Spring Program Guide and  for a Spring Greenway Bike & Bubbly event!

Fire Leads CERT Certification Course

This past weekend Fire graduated the latest Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Basic certification course. Fire and Emergency Services Analyst Blake Boyd, with assistance from Fire suppression staff, taught 16 citizens skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available or delayed. Topics covered include basic disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, fire safety, disaster preparation, and more. Course participants have the option of joining Cary CERT.

Cultivating Collaboration

Cary continues to collaborate with Toward Zero Waste (TZW) to seed conversations and foster local actions to reduce food waste and increase composting opportunities. TZW Cary Community Director, Meghan Holler, teamed up with Waste Strategy and Community Impact Consultant, Srijana Guilford, to speak at Morrisville’s Environment and Stormwater Committee meeting. They shared the benefits of partnering to support community initiatives. Cary’s food waste drop-off has become a model for NC communities, and the committee was interested in the design and development of it. Also this week, Cary and Toward Zero Waste led a food waste reduction workshop to nearly 30 residents, the third co-hosted program offered this year.

First Financial Operations Group Meeting

Approximately 30 staff members from multiple departments attended Cary’s first Financial Operations Group session. With all the new faces in Cary it felt like a great time to bring folks together to facilitate cross departmental collaboration and idea sharing on financial matters. The first meeting focused on relationship building as a first step to helping one another with improving operations. Recurring monthly meetings in the future will allow the group to discuss various financial topics and to continue to build relationships.  

Howlin’ Good Halloween

Citizens celebrated a Howlin’ Good Halloween with a variety of activities across Cary. The annual Herbert’s Haunted House hosted by Cary Teen Council attracted a record 1,116 brave attendees who took a walk through the house of horrors. Screams were prevalent throughout the night with many patrons happy just to survive. The Mummy & Son Ball provided a fun-filled spooktacular evening for mummies and sons who dressed in their favorite costumes and competed for prizes. Over a hundred spooky guests danced the Monster Mash, played eerily fun games, and roasted a ghost over an open fire for a tasty marshmallow treat! The Cary Theater was thrilled to showcase two fun-filled screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Nearly 200 die-hard fans filled the theater to sing along to their favorite musical, dance to the Time Warp, and dress up like their favorite character. Zombiepalooza attracted a sold-out crowd featuring a costume contest with prizes and a zombie short film. Twelve zombie short films were selected out of 700+ submissions. Audience members selected their People’s Choice award winner at the end of the program. Pumpkins were afloat on Bond Lake during the annual Pumpkin Flotilla which attracted over 1,000 attendees who came to watch the orange glow of pumpkins and listen to the live music. And finally, the Great Pumpkin Carve was more popular than ever with over 900 people attending the event. The Cary Public Library provided story time, and there was face painting and outdoor movies. Water marbling pumpkins was new this year were participants created designs on top of water and then dipped mini pumpkins in to transfer the design onto the pumpkins.  

Strengthening Connections

On Monday, October 31, Human Resources team members embodied Cary’s values of People First by visiting departments, re-connecting with staff, and giving away Halloween goodies. By sharing gratitude, recognition, and appreciation for the dedication and commitment of staff, Cary continues to celebrate the best and be one of the best local government places to work. 

Kildaire Farm Road Closure

Work on Kildaire Farm Road is off to a good start despite challenges with the availability of some construction materials. Installation of the new waterline started on October 31. Beginning on Monday, November 7, the contractor is planning to close Kildaire Farm Road from Pleasants to Walnut Street for approximately two weeks. During this closure contractors will be concurrently working to upgrade Cary’s waterline as well as installing a duct bank for burying overhead utilities. During the road closure, traffic will be detoured to use Walnut Street and Maynard Road.

Wake Bus Rapid Transit Fall Open House

Join us for a Wake Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) update on November 30 at the Cary Regional Library. Planners will be available from 12-2 PM to answer questions and share updates on all Wake BRT projects. Additional information, including virtual meeting opportunities, is available at Please contact Kelly Blazey, Transit Administrator, with any questions.

Town Hall Parking Deck Maintenance

Beginning next week and through the month of November, the Town Hall parking deck will be undergoing maintenance. Beginning Wednesday, November 9, contractors will perform clearance pruning of the trees adjacent to the Town Hall parking deck and following the pruning contractors will begin pressure washing and cleaning the deck. Sections of the deck will be closed on a rotational basis until November 21, but those will be clearly marked with signs and cones. 

Upcoming Meetings

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Nov 7
 5:00 p.m.

Hybrid Information Services Advisory Board
Nov 7
6:00 p.m.

Historic Preservation Commission
Nov 9
6:30 p.m.

Council Quarterly Meeting
Nov 10
11:30 a.m.

Mayor’s Mailbox

  • Complaints about the proposed Holt PDD rezoning in Regency (council will not receive information about this rezoning until a public hearing is scheduled)
  • A concern about safety at the Walnut Street and Lawrence intersection
  • A thank you for the volunteer appreciation event

Next Week

Next week’s schedule is lighter due to the Veterans Day holiday. Activities include staff meetings, the council-staff quarterly meeting, and the Cary Veteran’s Day Observance.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, November 13th. Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communications with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to and email personal comments to

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