News & Rankings

Economic Development February 2016 Recap

Recent Announcements

Executive Director Adrienne Cole Awarded 2016 Women in Business Award

Adrienne Cole, Wake County Economic Development's executive director, was awarded the Triangle Business Journal 2016 Women in Business Award. The Women in Business Awards program recognizes Triangle women who have proven to be dynamic and outstanding leaders with established track records of significant accomplishments in business and/or community service. The judges, a mixture of Triangle business leaders and TBJ editorial leadership, pored through nearly 100 entries to come up with this year's crop of winners.

"This year's class of female leaders represents a vast array of knowledge and influence that spans across the entire Triangle and beyond," says TBJ Publisher Jason Christie. "We are extremely excited to be able to honor these successful women."

Cole was listed among a high caliber of women in the region who also received the award, several of whose companies are strong WCED supporters.

Municipal Updates 


Apex Pursues First Certified Industrial Site
The Steering Committee of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, which facilitates the Certified Sites Program for the Department of Commerce, has accepted the town's Intent to Certify application for a 120-acre site in Apex. This will allow the town to pursue its first ever Certified Industrial Site.

Apex Receives Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Grants
On Feb. 17, the Town of Apex received $2.5 million from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to assist in the completion of Apex Peakway. The completion will alleviate traffic congestion on Highway 55/Williams Street as well as provide opportunities for business growth.  


Kellogg's Announces $19.5 million Expansion
Kellogg's Snacks, located in Cary, has announced their plans to move forward with a $19.5 million expansion to its facility off of Weston Parkway.  

Mayton Inn Opens in Downtown Cary
The Mayton Inn, a 45 room Georgian-style boutique hotel opened its doors in downtown Cary. It features full service amenities including a restaurant, bar, and spa, as well as meeting and wedding/banquet facilities.  

The Umstead Hotel Keeps Forbes' Five Star Rating 
The Umstead Hotel & Spa just received its re-accreditation of 5 star rating from Forbes Travel Guide.  It is now the only 5 star 5 diamond hotel and restaurant in the Triangle.


2015 Economic Development Report Released 
Fuquay-Varina released its 2015 Economic Development Annual Report. The town issued more than 800 commercial and residential building permits and had nearly $185,000,000 in private sector development investment in 2015.

Fuquay-Varina Receives Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Grants
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization  awarded Fuquay-Varina federal grants in the amount of $5.3 million to be used for three roadway projects currently in progress in several phases. This is the largest combination of grant awards the town has received since it joined CAMPO more than 20 years ago.

Fuquay-Varina Continues to Develop Downtown  
The town and the UNC School of Government Development Finance Initiative are working on pre-development services to leverage new infill mixed-use development to its downtown. This is the second phase of work to be performed by the town and DFI to recruit private sector investment downtown. In 2015, the town and DFI conducted a downtown market feasibility study that concluded a strong additional demand for residential, office, and retail uses.  


STOCK America Breaks Ground on Corporate Headquarters  
STOCK America, a leader in the production of sterilization equipment for the food industry, broke ground on its corporate headquarters in Greenfield Business Park North on Feb. 19, consolidating its nationwide operations into one location. Mayor Ronnie Williams and Town Councilman Ken Marshburn were on hand to help with the groundbreaking.  


Knightdale Chamber of Commerce Names Executive Director 
The Knightdale Chamber of Commerce has named Patrice Bayyan as executive director.  Bayyan comes to the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce from the NC Works Career Center in Raleigh where she served as project director for workforce development. To view the full announcement, click here


Morrisville is the Most Linguistically Diverse Place in NC 
Morrisville is the most linguistically diverse city or town in North Carolina, according to a new report by real estate search site FindtheHome.

Morrisville Road Projects 
The Town of Morrisville continues to move forward with its Major Roadway projects. These are important projects and critical to the town's future growth. Information on current projects can be found here

Secretary Skvarla Visits Morrisville
Commerce Secretary John Skvarla visited Morrisville Town Hall on Feb. 4 to discuss North Carolina's business climate. Read full article here

New & Expanding Companies

Cohera Medical | Raleigh | Advanced Medical Technologies | Expanding 
Cohera Medical Inc., a rapidly growing medical device company that makes adhesives used in tummy tuck procedures, has decided to uproot its headquarters in Pittsburgh and relocate to downtown Raleigh. Cohera Medical has signed a deal for a 16,000-square-foot office lease at the 227 Fayetteville office tower in the heart of downtown Raleigh, according to sources at the Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate firm. Cohera Medical will relocate about 70 percent of its existing staff in Pittsburgh to the new Raleigh location. The company also plans to hire another 30 people in Raleigh over the next 18 months, which will more than double its workforce.

Citrix Systems | Raleigh | Software/IT | Expanding
Citrix is expanding in downtown Raleigh, adding 14,000 square feet on the ground floor of the attached parking deck. With this add-on, Citrix now occupies 100 percent of its property along Morgan Street. The company, which develops software aimed at helping remote workers access their office technology from anywhere, has about 700 employees in Raleigh.

Kellogg’s Snacks | Cary | Food Processing | Expanding
Kellogg’s Snacks, located in Cary, has announced plans to move forward with a $19.5 million expansion to its facility off of Weston Parkway.

New & Expanding Metrics Since Jan. 2016

  Jan. 2016
New & Expanding Company Announcements 4
   Jobs 50
   Investment $19.5 million


Since the beginning of 2016, four companies have announced relocations or expansions in Wake County, accounting for 50 new jobs and $19.5 million of investment.

Project Metrics

Total Projects Received Since Jan. 2016 15
   Potential Jobs 1,986
   Potential Investment $132 million
Client Visits 6
Active Projects 35
   Potential Jobs 7,364
   Potential Investment $1.2 billion


Since Jan. 1, 2016, Wake County Economic Development has received 15 new projects from companies considering relocations or expansions in Wake County. These projects would total 1,986 new jobs and approximately $132 million of investment if each were to successfully locate in Wake County. WCED has also hosted six client visits to the area. Currently, Wake County Economic Development is working on 35 active projects. These projects would total 7,364 new jobs and approximately $1.2 billion of investment if each were to decide to locate in Wake County.  

Recent News and Events 

Business Recruitment & Retention

WCED Site Assessment Update
The 2016 Site Assessment Program officially kicked off on Feb. 25. Municipal economic developers completed a 30 question RFI that answered questions on site utilities, transportation, and site characteristics. The answers then translated into a score to help determine how "ready" a site is for development. Each site in the program will receive recommendations on logical next steps towards industrial or commercial development. Last year, the Site Assessment Program evaluated 5,000 acres across Wake County. Read more about the outcomes of our 2015 program.

Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and Wake County Economic Development Host Cleantech Delegation at DistribuTECH
The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and Wake County Economic Development took a regional delegation toDistribuTECH, the world's leading smart grid trade show. The delegation presented case studies on topics including grid edge solutions, renewables integration, Internet of Things, grid modernization, and microgrid technologies. The Triangle region is one of the world's top cleantech clusters, named one of just 11 members of the International Cleantech Network, and one of the top locations in the country for smart grid innovation.


Marketing & Public Relations 

Forbes Contributor Series: How Emerging Entrepreneurial Hubs Are Becoming Americas New Boomtowns
The article highlights two studies indicating that both Raleigh and Durham are top hubs for entrepreneurship and innovation:

  • "Where To Get Funded in 2016 That Isn't Silicon Valley" in Mattermark: Raleigh, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and Washington, D.C. are showing upward momentum in deal making while attracting a significant amount of capital, joining the ranks of popular startup hubs like Austin, Seattle, and Denver/Boulder.
  • "The Rise of Global Startup Cities" in CityLab: While venture capital has "gone global" by spreading to places like China and India, the dominant centers remain U.S. cities that combine density, great universities, and an open-minded culture to attract the best talent. In sheer numbers, the San Francisco Bay region and the northeast U.S. continue to account for the most dollars. However, on a per capita basis, places like Durham, Austin, Seattle, and Jacksonville, Fla. make the top 10 for attracting venture capital-presumably, because these are places that smart, ambitious people want to live and work.

Siefert-Rose suggests that these cities are making these lists largely due to a stable economy, which allowed them to emerge more quickly than most regions from the Great Recession. She adds that for the past decade, these cities have been magnets for highly educated workers, spurring investments in downtowns, green space, schools, and cultural attractions.

Inbound Reporter Visits
WCED hosted two freelance reporters on individual tours of Raleigh in January and February. The journalists write for Entrepreneur, CNNMoney, The Guardian, Fast Company, Next City, and several other top-tier national outlets. Each of the two-day visits included meetings with local startups and key initiatives and companies that are driving entrepreneurship and innovation in Raleigh. These visits are part of WCED and the City of Raleigh's national storytelling campaign with the goal of showcasing Raleigh as a top hub for innovation nationwide.

Recent Rankings  

For a full list of rankings, please download the Raleigh/Wake County Rankings Flyer.

  • #3 Best City for Young Families 
    (Raleigh-Cary, NC) Value Penguin | February 2016 
  • #5 Best State Capital 
    (Raleigh-Cary, NC) WalletHub | February 2016 
  • #5 Best City to Live and Work 
    (Raleigh, NC) Robert Half Career City Index | February 2016 
  • #10 Best Mid-Sized City to Make a Living 
    (Raleigh, NC) Money Geek | February 2016 

Wake County Labor Market Statistics 


Labor Force & Employment


Employment Rate Dec 2015 

Since December 2014, Wake County's labor force has increased by 33,837 and employment has increased by 31,732. This represents growth of 6.7 and 6.6 percent, respectively.

Unemployment Rate

 Unemployment Rate Dec 2015

Wake County's unemployment rate (the proportion of those unemployed relative to the labor force) has increased from 4.1 percent in December 2014 to 4.3 percent in December 2015. This represents a 0.2 percent increase. 


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