North Carolina Has Top Business Climate, Says Another National Publication

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The accolades keep rolling in for North Carolina. Twice this week, national media organizations ranked the state as having the best business climate in the nation.

The latest recognition comes from Business Facilities, a publication for corporate site selectors and economic developers. It puts North Carolina first in its 18th annual rankings of state business climates.

Earlier CNBC, the cable business news channel, also ranked North Carolina as the country’s top state for business in 2022, the first time the state had taken the number-one spot in the 15-year history of that ranking.

“North Carolina hit a new level for business attraction and retention over the past 12 months, and our ranking of the state for Best Business Climate recognizes what an increasing number of companies have recognized by locating or expanding there,” said Anne Cosgrove, editorial director of Business Facilities.

North Carolina also performed well in last year’s rankings, placing No. 2 behind Virginia. This year the state topped Virginia, Utah, Texas and Tennessee, its closest competitors among the 50 states. Just two months ago Site Selection named the Tar Heel state the winner of its 2021 Prosperity Cup – the second year in a row the state landed on top of that business recruitment honor.

“The state’s move to the top of the leaderboard this year is a recognition of the success of a broad-based economic development approach from teams across the state,” Cosgrove said. “This ranking also looks beyond the sheer numbers, evaluating diversity of growth sectors, incentives, workforce development and training, and education partnerships.”

North Carolina also excelled in 10 additional categories, placing in the top 10 for Tech Talent Pipeline; Customized Workforce Training; Food Processing; BioPharma; Semiconductors; Manufacturing Output; Offshore Wind Power; Solar Installed Capacity; as well as Foreign Direct Investment for both project and capital investment.

“Good things happen when preparation meets opportunity,” said Doug Edgeton, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. “And Site Selection has doubled down its recognition of North Carolina’s winning partnership model that attracts great companies from around the world. We’re proud that NCBiotech and our entire life sciences community have been able to make significant contributions to these successes. With 790 life sciences companies now employing 70,000 people statewide, we’ve developed a critical mass that will continue to make North Carolina a global life sciences leader.”  

Last year was a record year for corporate expansions, relocations and new projects in North Carolina, said Machelle Baker Sanders, secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce. Despite the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the state recorded 185 economic development projects, announcing more than 24,000 new jobs and $10.1 billion in investments.

“Our diverse, world-class workforce, shovel-ready locations, and top-tier education system combined with a stellar quality of life and low cost of living and doing business have attracted innovative projects and global companies like Apple, Fujifilm, and Toyota,” Baker Sanders said. “These big wins are ushering North Carolina to an even brighter future.”

Already in 2022, North Carolina has announced significant investments from expanding companies — $104 million from four companies within one week in May alone — as well as attracting new businesses, including those from the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry. In March, Vinfast selected North Carolina for its first North American automotive assembly and battery manufacturing plant. The Vietnam-based automotive manufacturer plans to create 7,500 jobs and invest up to $2 billion in phase 1 of the project in Chatham County.

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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