Business Facilities names North Carolina 2020 State of the Year

The national publication serving corporate site selectors and economic development professionals recognizes North Carolina’s success in winning projects that create capital investments and new jobs. This is the first time North Carolina has taken the top spot.

In Business Facilities (BF)  2020 State Rankings Report, NC was ranked among the top 10 states in rankings categories including Best Business Climate, Workforce Development, Manufacturing Employment, Foreign Direct Investment, Biotechnology, Installed Solar Power, Unmanned Aerial Systems and Fastest-Growing States (Population).

BF Editor-in-Chief Jack Rogers said “North Carolina is leveraging its advantages—including a prime logistics location, a steadily expanding skilled workforce and impressive higher education resources—to seal the deal on one big project after another.”

Wake County plays no small part in the success of the entire state. In 2020 alone, we announced more than 6,621 new jobs and $406 million in investments. Continue reading for highlights across various categories. 

Cost of Doing Business

The ease of doing business in the Raleigh metro is one of the most desirable traits of the state and attracts high quality companies and talent. The Raleigh metro has a pro-business regulatory environment and a low cost-of-living making the metro a competitive place to live and work. As detailed in our 2020 Metro Comparisons publication, Raleigh ranks #1 on cost of doing business against peer metros like NYC, which ranks 87, and San Francisco, which ranks 92. Our legal climate, average single family home value, cost per square foot of office and warehouse construction and other factors rank more favorably than the aforementioned peer communities. 

Regional Growth

U-haul recently named Raleigh-Durham the #1 growth city in the U.S., with 64 people added to the population each day. In fact, the population of Wake County has grown by more than 80% over the last two decades. A majority of our population growth is coming from movers out of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. We are also one of the most popular locations for millennials, with a projected Net Migration Growth in ages 15-34 in the next five years of 15.4%, compared to the U.S. average of 2.6%.

Workforce Development

Our region (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) ranks the #4 most educated city in the United States according to WalletHub, with 46.5% of adults 25 years and older having a bachelors degree or higher. Wake County Public School System’s graduation rate exceeds 90%, with many schools achieving 100%. Many of these students go on to attend one of the three tier-one research universities (UNC, NC State, Duke) in the area or the largest community college (Wake Tech)  in the state. 

Foreign Direct Investment

With more than 700 international companies, the Raleigh metro and the Research Triangle region offer a strong foundation for global companies to grow and thrive. For example, French-owned Company Cellectis Biologics, will be opening its first North American Manufacturing facility in Wake County, bringing 200 jobs and $68.6 million investment to the region.

There are many great regions in the United States and the competition for investment and workforce continues to intensify. The post-pandemic landscape will put a premium on places that can attract talent with a combination of high quality of place and affordability; on places that have strong technology assets; on places that value and celebrate diversity and innovation; and on places where the business, government and higher education leaders work together as stewards of a place they love. The future for the Raleigh MSA and the Research Triangle region looks bright.


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