WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is traveling to the Charlotte area next Friday to talk about the economy.
Obama must have some love for the Queen City; he last visited Charlotte during the 2008 presidential campaign, the day before the Nov. 4 election.
Obama's visit will come as new jobs numbers are being released. It's also just a few weeks after Mayor Anthony Foxx, former Bank of America chief Hugh McColl Jr., and other business leaders traveled to the White House to meet with senior advisor Valerie Jarrett about Charlotte's troubles. They also invited Obama to visit.
"I'm very pleased to welcome the president to our great city," Foxx said in an interview this morning. "I'm honored that the president would come to Charlotte, and particularly coming so close to our visit in Washington."
Foxx said he doesn't yet know where the president will appear or exactly what time of day. Details of the visit were still being worked out with White House officials.
But Charlotte hopes to gain recognition as a city that can emerge from the economic downturn and into a strong position. The region's unemployment rate recently shot past 12 percent. Nearly 62,000 area residents have lost work since the recession began.
Local leaders told Jarrett earlier this month that despite the difficulties, Charlotte is riding a wave of recent successes -- with the Siemens Energy announcement this month of 825 new jobs, along with other recent jobs announcements from Electrolux and Husqvarna.
Foxx held a series of jobs forums over the winter and has said he wants Obama to use Charlotte as a national example of how a city can transition out of the recession and into a new economy.