Recent Rankings demonstrate Wake County’s economic development strength

By Michael Haley, WCED Executive Director 

Data and analysis are critical to our economic development efforts. For instance, each year Wake County Economic Development commissions a third party, independent study that contrasts the Raleigh metro with the top 100 largest metros around the United States using a database of more than 260 comparative metrics. WCED uses these data every day in describing the community to both companies looking to expand or relocate or to talent considering the market.

Another byproduct of economic development data analysis are rankings. These rankings are a useful tool for us. They help provide comparative information on communities, counties, or metros as well as serving as a level set. Our work with our national marketing partner has helped us clearly understand how important this information is for both companies and talent. Talent uses these rankings and other digital research to help inform their decisions on a community they will move to for a job or career change. Companies use this information to help them identify strong markets and those with a steep upward trajectory that can be complimentary to their own growth.

Wake County and the State of North Carolina recently received several top rankings. These rankings are noteworthy because they are impactful to both companies and talent.

#2 Best Place to Live in the US in 2021-2022 | US News & World Report

US News & World Report named the Research Triangle region (Raleigh-Durham) as the #2 best place to live in the U.S. for 2021-2022. The article noted that the Triangle is attracting people because of our strong job market and high quality of life. The region was described as being home to a community that is young, friendly, diverse, and educated.  Of course when you describe the Research Triangle you have to mention our higher education ecosystem and how important they are: “Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill are known for their research/technology roots and collegiate rivalries.” We were happy to talk with local media about this recognition.

#2 Top State for Business 2021 | CNBC

In CNBC’s annual ranking of state business climate, North Carolina was named the #2 Top State for Business.  The state ranked in the top 10 for workforce, economy, business friendliness and access to capital.  The article also specifically mentions Apple’s decision to locate its east coast campus in Wake County as evidence of the state’s strengths.

Location Matters Report  |  Tax Foundation & KPMG study

The Tax Foundation and KPMG recently completed the Location Matters Report modeling the tax implications of eight different types of new and mature firms and analyzed what each would pay in state and local taxes in every state.  The study ranked North Carolina third overall for lowest effective state tax rates for new firms and fifth overall for mature firms.

These rankings describe the foundational underpinnings that make our community so strong – a dynamic regional economy, a business-focused regulatory environment, a world-class education and higher education ecosystem and a high quality of life -- both for our existing community and incoming talent.


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