At a morning State of Durham's Economy Breakfast Tuesday, participants got mostly encouraging news with their grits, eggs, and coffee.
They heard about high profile additions to downtown Durham - including business and hospital expansion.
But they also heard about challenges - like attracting more industries that are hiring people who need jobs.
Still, some say the Bull City's uniquely positioned to recover from the recession sooner than most.
"What's Durham's competition? You're looking at some of the other top, hot high tech cities. And yet, Durham does it with a much greater degree of diversity and vitality, having regenerated its downtown," offered Duke University Economics Associate Chair Charles Becker.
But there's also sobering news, like an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent.
One way out - according to some of the experts at the breakfast Tuesday - is to encourage smart college students to start businesses. Another is more training in industries that are hiring, from pharmaceuticals to health care to construction.
"We have to continue to foster our capacity to provide those kind of skills. That means relying on community colleges, strengthening our high schools and engaging more businesses," said Becker.
And Durham leaders will keep pushing their new performing arts center as an engine to drive the city out of the national slump faster.
"We've also had growth of the entertainment and arts industry in downtown with investments that were committed before the recession," said Becker.