News & Rankings

Economic Development January Recap

New & Expanding Companies 

Biogen Idec | Morrisville | Biotechnology | Expanding 

Biogen Idec, North Carolina's largest biotechnology company with 1,300 employees in the Research Triangle Park, announced that it will add 100 jobs over the next few months. The company, which produces biotech medicines for patients with multiple sclerosis and hemophilia, has grown revenue and employment by more than 50 percent over the past three years and is expecting more growth in 2015. The jobs include positions at all levels in the organization, including manufacturing associates, engineers and quality assurance technicians. The company has average wages in the Research Triangle Park of more than $75,000 annually.

Wake Health Services | Raleigh | Healthcare | Expanding

Wake Health Services, a provider of accessible and affordable healthcare, announced that it has begun construction on a new 35,000-square-foot Community Health Center in Southeast Raleigh. The new $13 million center will provide expanded health, pharmacy, and dental services, increasing access to a broad range of healthcare services for adults and children in Southeast Raleigh. The building will be located adjacent to the current Rock Quarry Road Family Medicine site at 1001 Rock Quarry Road. It is expected to be completed in one year. 

Marriott Hotel | Raleigh | Hospitality | New 

Marriott has announced that the first AC Hotel in North Carolina will be located in midtown Raleigh, next to the new North Hills Tower Two. The new AC Hotel will house 133 rooms and is expected to be open by 2016. AC Hotels is a select-service brand, meaning that it has a staffed lounge with waiter service but no room service. Its focus will be on a contemporary design, style, technology and an engaging communal space for travelers. 


Wake County Municipality Highlight:


With nearly 23,000 residents, Fuquay-Varina is one of Wake County's fastest growing communities and ranks first in population growth for North Carolina cities with 5,000 or more residents according to the 2013 Census (2000 --  2013). The town's economic outlook for the next few years is extremely encouraging. The volume of commercial and residential development already underway and expected development will forever change the landscape and perceptions for one of the Triangle's fastest growing communities.  

In addition to receiving high praise and accolades in development magazines and online rankings, Fuquay-Varina has strategically positioned itself and continues to be recognized for its assets and development opportunities among the public and private sectors.  In August 2014, Standard & Poor's upgraded the town's bond rating from AA to AAA, the highest rate available. Fuquay-Varina joins an exclusive and small list of 15 towns in the state of North Carolina to enjoy a Standard & Poor's AAA bond rating, and it is the only town with a population less than 25,000 to have an AAA rating in the state. Read more >.


New & Expanding Metrics Since January 2015 


Jan. 1 -- Jan. 31, 2015

New & Expanding Company Announcements







Since the beginning of 2015, 83 companies have announced relocations or expansions in Wake County. This accounts for the creation of 100 new jobs and investment of $13 million. Of those announcements, two (66 percent) are in Wake County Economic Development's cluster industries.

Project Metrics Since January 2015 


Jan. 1 --  Jan 31, 2015

Projects Received


Client Visits


Potential Jobs


Potential Investment



Since Jan. 1, 2015, Wake County Economic Development has worked directly on seven projects from companies considering relocations or expansions in Wake County. These projects would total 4,352 new jobs and $350 million of investment if each were to successfully locate in Wake County. WCED has also hosted two client visits to the area. 


Recent News & Events 

DCI Media Campaign Themes 

Following our PR and marketing firm's two-day "Immersion Tour" to Wake County in November, six key themes emerged. DCI is pitching story angles to the national, international and trade media based on these themes and is working with WCED to identify spokespersons and companies for media opportunities. The themes include entrepreneurship and innovation, technology, life sciences, cleantech, education, and quality of place. 

South Bend, Ind. Looks to Triangle Region for Best Practices and Lessons Learned

In January, leaders from the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, WCED, and the Durham Chamber of Commerce hosted leaders from St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce of South Bend, Ind. The purpose of the visit was for South Bend leadership to hear best practices and lessons learned that have made the Triangle successful. Following the trip, St. Joseph Chamber President and CEO Jeff Rea published a piece outlining takeaways from his visit to the region. 

Economy and Business Guide

On Jan. 9, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce held its 2015 Economic Forecast. WCED released the annual Economy and Business brochure at the event. The guide contains statistics and highlights from 2014, including project highlights, new and expanding announcements, and growth. Additionally, the guide showcases Wake County's municipalities, the Centennial Campus, Research Triangle Park, and other amenities unique to the area, and includes a forecast for the upcoming year.

Activate Good Triangle Corporate Volunteerism Summit

WCED was a sponsor at Activate Good's Triangle Corporate Volunteerism Summit on Jan. 15. Currently, the Triangle ranks 40th out of 51 large communities in volunteerism. The event launched a dialogue on how to get more residents involved and working together to execute a plan to bolster the Triangle's volunteer rankings.

Google Fiber Announces in Favor of Raleigh

On Jan. 27, Google confirmed that Raleigh and three of Wake County's municipalities (Cary, Morrisville, and Garner) were among the latest cities selected to be outfitted with Google Fiber. Google Fiber promises Internet speeds 100 times faster than existing connections and a high-definition television service. Faster speeds and connectivity will help to further promote the region as a technology hub and increase economic prosperity. Research from the Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas says access to gigabit speeds increases per-capita gross domestic product by 1.1 percent, which translated into an extra $1.4 billion in GDP in the 14 communities studied. Currently, no timeline has been given as to when construction will start. The full article can be read here. 

Data Analytics Focus Group

WCED hosted a Data Analytics Focus Group on Jan. 27 in order to discuss the strengths, assets, and company stories in this cluster. Much of the conversation focused around people, the community, and how to support them and draw them to the area. 

NCTA State of the Industry Report

Jenn Bosser, assistant executive director of WCED, and Morgan Servie, PR and marketing manager for WCED, attended North Carolina Technology Association's Outlook for IT Leadership luncheon on Jan. 30. NCTA released its first annual State of Technology Industry Report, which provides key insights into the state's tech industry and serves as a guide for companies considering headquarter relocation or operations establishment in North Carolina. The report functions as a resource for innovation sector organizations, as well as economic developers and media. WCED was a sponsor of the report. 

New Staff Joins Wake County Economic Development

Wake County Economic Development welcomed a new staff member to its team in January. Ashley Rogers joined the team as research assistant. She will provide support for the department and investors and handle community research requests.


Recent Rankings  

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

  • #2 Best City for African Americans (Raleigh, NC) 
    New Geography
  • #3 Best City for STEM Professionals (Raleigh, NC) 
  • #4 Fastest Growing City (Raleigh, NC) 
  • #5 Best Performing Metro (Raleigh-Cary, NC) 
    The Milken Institute 
  • Top 5 Best Markets for Office Investment (Raleigh-Durham, NC) 
    National Real Estate Investor
  • #7 Real Estate Market to Watch in 2015 (Raleigh, NC) 
  • #41 World's Leading Metropolitan Areas (Raleigh, NC) 
    The Brookings Institute


Wake County Labor Market Statistics  

Labor Force & Employment


Since December 2013, Wake County's labor force has increased by 9,313 and employment has increased by 12,754. This represents a growth of 1.87 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. The number of those unemployed----displayed in the graph above as the differential of labor force and employment----has fallen by 13.9 percent.    

Unemployment Rate


Wake County's unemployment rate, the proportion of those unemployed relative to the labor force, has fallen from 5.0 percent in December of last year to 4.2 percent this year. This represents a 0.8 percent decrease.


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