By the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
Over the past few years, North Carolina has become the gold standard when it comes to economic development success. In 2022 alone, North Carolina has welcomed some of the biggest economic development announcements in the state’s history, with no signs of slowing down.
VinFast earned the distinction of being the biggest announcement in the state’s history when it announced in March that its new North American vehicle and battery manufacturing plant will be located at the megasite in Chatham County. The company is investing $4 billion to create 7,500 jobs. American retailer Macy’s, Inc., will build its first-ever fully automated distribution center in China Grove, located in Rowan County. The company will invest $584.3 million for the project which has a goal of 2,800 new jobs. Boom Supersonic chose a site at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro to manufacture and assemble its modern supersonic airliners for commercial use. This project was an investment of $500 million through 2030 to create 1,750 jobs by then. Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is investing $1 billion to develop a manufacturing plant in Concord to create nearly 600 jobs.
These companies are just a few examples of North Carolina’s recent successes. Since the beginning of 2022, North Carolina has announced 74 projects for a total of over $8 billion in capital investments to create over 19,000 jobs. These announcements encompass many industries and include existing businesses as well as new facilities. Small businesses are also flourishing across the state, with the number of small business filings with the North Carolina Secretary of State hitting record highs in 2021.
Because of these record-breaking successes, people are taking notice. Most recently, CNBC named North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2022, rising above states like Washington, Virginia, Colorado and Texas. The state’s economy; technology and innovation; and workforce were what took North Carolina to the top.
In May, Site Selection magazine chose the state to win its 2022 Prosperity Cup. This is the second year in a row the state has won the award for most successful economic development and business development projects in their state for the previous year. In June. Area Development Magazine awarded its inaugural 2022 Platinum Shovel award to North Carolina, recognizing states that went above and beyond the gold standard for investment and job creation for 2021.
Many factors contribute to North Carolina consistently wining these big projects and regularly landing at the top of everyone’s lists for the best place to do business, but three stand out.
Low Cost of Business
Businesses that move to or expand in North Carolina find that the cost of doing business in the state is great for the bottom line. North Carolina’s current corporate income tax is 2.5%, which is lowest rate among the 44 states that levy this tax. In 2025, the tax will decrease to 2.25% and will continue to decrease until it reaches 0% in 2030. The state is one of four states to receive a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s for over 55 years. And for businesses looking to build, construction costs are 17% below the national average and there is no state property tax.
First In Talent
North Carolina’s most important and valuable resource is its people. The state has one of the fastest growing populations in the country, which is quickly approaching 10.5 million people. Within that, 4.9 million people are part of the workforce. Out of the workforce, 149,000 of those are recent graduates, over 87,000 people are a result of in-migration and 18,000 are recent military separations, putting North Carolina in a unique position that can support emerging and expanding industries like life sciences, aeronautics and clean energy. In fact, North Carolina has more than 475,000 currently working in manufacturing positions and over 275,000 people in the workforce in the scientific, technical, and professional services.
To continue ensuring the state’s workforce is prepared, and resilient, for an ever-changing economy, the North Carolina Department of Commerce developed a four-year economic development strategic plan, outlining how workforce development, business recruitment and economic development can work together to ensure North Carolina and its residents have continued success. We have seen this plan in action with Honda Jet’s and Pratt & Whitney’s tailored workforce development programs with the state’s community colleges.
Partnerships and Collaboration
It takes a village to make anything successful, and in North Carolina, it is public-private partnerships. These successes are attributed to the work, cooperation and partnerships between Governor Cooper, the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) and its Board of Directors, among many other partners at the local, state, and even federal levels. By coming together to form lasting partnerships with the goal of making success the gold standard in the state, everyone – businesses and North Carolina residents – win.