North Carolina ranks in top 3 states to do business — again


Vulcanair will establish its headquarters, manufacturing facility and maintenance operations at the Corporate Airpark at the Curtis L. Brown Jr. Airfield in Bladen County.
                                 Daid Kennard | The Robesonian

Vulcanair will establish its headquarters, manufacturing facility and maintenance operations at the Corporate Airpark at the Curtis L. Brown Jr. Airfield in Bladen County.
Daid Kennard | The Robesonian

CNBC Ranks North Carolina as Number Two Best State for Business in the Country Thanks to Well-Trained Workforce, Booming Economy, and Strong Business Environment

RALEIGH: Today, CNBC named North Carolina as second best state to do business and in the top three for the fifth year in a row thanks to our well-trained and diverse workforce, booming economy, and strong business environment. In 2019, North Carolina ranked third; in 2021, the state ranked second; and in both 2022 and 2023 North Carolina ranked first.

“Investing in our people makes our continued success possible,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Thanks to our highly-skilled workforce built by our strong public schools and thriving economy with major investments from companies across all sectors, North Carolina continues to be a top destination for business.”

“CNBC again ranking North Carolina as one of the top states for business in the nation is a testament to our state’s competitive advantages,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Successful states stay laser focused on improving their education systems, upgrading their infrastructure, and paying attention to critical quality of life issues like childcare. I’m confident we’ll continue to do the work that’s required to bring economic prosperity to all North Carolinians.”

“North Carolina continues to be a powerhouse for business,” said Gene McLaurin, chair of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s (EDPNC) Board of Directors. “Thanks to strong collaboration between Governor Cooper, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, EDPNC and other public and private partnerships, we are bolstering North Carolina’s economy to make sure companies continue to grow and thrive in our state.”

The CNBC study looks at 128 metrics in ten categories of competitiveness. North Carolina ranked #3 in workforce and highly in the economy, business friendliness, education and access to capital categories. This is the fifth year in a row that CNBC has named North Carolina in the top three states for business.

Since Governor Cooper took office in 2017, North Carolina has announced over 115,368 jobs and promised capital investments of $53.45 billion, including major projects from companies like Apple, Toyota, Wolfspeed, FUJIFILM Diosynth, and Boom Supersonic. North Carolina continues to recruit good-paying jobs to add to the advanced manufacturing, clean energy and technology industries already thriving in the rural and urban parts of the state.

Governor Cooper has prioritized economic development to secure major investments and good-paying jobs in North Carolina. In May, the Governor led a delegation of state officials to Europe on an economic development trip and met with companies and government officials in France, Germany and Switzerland. In October, North Carolina will host the 2024 Southeast U.S./Japan Association 46th annual joint meeting to encourage foreign direct investment from Japanese companies, as well as strengthen export ties for North Carolina and other Southeastern companies selling goods in Japan.

Governor Cooper is focused on making investments in North Carolina’s strong workforce and public schools to build on the state’s continued economic growth. In May 2021, the Governor launched the Longleaf Commitment Community College Grants Program that ensures that recent high school graduates from low- and middle-income families will receive at least $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges. In July 2018, the Governor announced the Finish Line Grants Program to help community college students who face unforeseen financial emergencies complete their training.

The Governor has declared 2024 as The Year of Public Schools and has been traveling across North Carolina to celebrate the great things happening in public schools and call on the legislature to make meaningful investments in them instead of funneling more taxpayer money into unaccountable private school vouchers. Earlier this year, the Governor announced his FY24-25 budget that would raise teacher pay by 8.5% and invest over $1 billion in public schools while placing a moratorium on taxpayer-funded private school vouchers.

In December 2023, Medicaid expansion was implemented in North Carolina to extend health care coverage to over 600,000 people while bringing billions in federal dollars to the state. The agreement to expand Medicaid followed years of coalition-building by the Governor to bring people from all corners of the state together to highlight the critical need for health care in every community. Veterans, early childhood educators, restaurant workers, nursing home workers are all among the groups that often fall into the coverage gap and sometimes have to work two or more jobs to afford health care. As of July 2024, nearly 500,000 North Carolinians now have enrolled to gain access to critical health care.

North Carolina’s biggest room for improvement in CNBC’s rankings is in the “Quality of Life” category, which includes affordability and availability of childcare, access to reproductive healthcare and rights, and voting rights. North Carolina received a D+ grade in these metrics. While the North Carolina General Assembly provided critical but limited grants to help keep childcare centers open for the next few months, Governor Cooper continues to push Republican legislators to make the investments needed for parents, businesses and children by extending these grants, investing in NC Pre K and investing more in quality early childhood education. As CNBC’s methodology confirms, North Carolina’s economic future depends on it.

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