Gov. Mike Easley says he is fast-tracking more than $700 million in building projects as a way to stimulate North Carolina's economy.
Easley's office estimated Wednesday the projects will produce nearly 26,000 new jobs. The projects include prisons, university campus improvements, and more than $100 million for a Raleigh project for the state's environmental offices and a Nature Research Center.
Easley's office also said he has instructed Commerce Secretary Jim Fain to aggressively use his agency's incentive program to recruit jobs to the state. He said he expects to make several new job announcements soon.
North Carolina's unemployment rate climbed to 7 percent in October, the highest in almost six years.