North Carolina Awarded Best Business Climate 2021
by Think Currituck, on 11/1/21 4:35 PM
In the annual ranking of states with the Best Business Climate, North Carolina has landed back on top.
After sharing the top spot with Georgia in 2020, Site Selection magazine deemed North Carolina worthy of a clear and singular victory.
It's official, North Carolina has the Best Business Climate!
In a post on the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) website, CEO Christopher Chung said that “it’s great news to leap ahead and be recognized as the sole winner of this national recognition."
Our state is no stranger to the top of the table.
North Carolina held the No. 2 spot in the magazine’s annual ranking for five consecutive years before last year's tie with Georgia. The state dominated the list for 6 years from 2005 through 2010.
Georgia drops to No. 2 this year in the Site Selection survey, with Texas, Ohio and Indiana rounding out the top five.
How does Site Selection make the list?
According to the magazine: "50% of the overall Business Climate Ranking is based on a survey of corporate site selectors who are asked to rank the states based on their recent experience of locating facilities in them."
"The other 50% is based on an index of seven criteria: performance in Site Selection’s annual Prosperity Cup ranking (formerly the Competitiveness Award); total Conway Projects Database-compliant facility locations and expansion projects in 2019; total projects in 2019 per capita; total 2020 projects year to date; total 2020 projects year to date per capita; corporate and property tax data from the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Index."
There were a few surprises in the list of the most important location criteria cited by site selectors. Factors such as "Quality of Life" and "Incentives" didn't factor much this year. But "Transportation Infrastructure" jumped up to second place, just behind "Workforce."
In the Site Selection article announcing the award, editor-in-chief Mark Arend highlights the Strategic Economic Development Plan introduced by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Specifically, he highlights the plan's focus on workforce.
From the plan's executive summary: “Every business survey conducted — nationally and in-state — identifies acquiring and growing the right talent as a crucial factor. The ability to find high-quality employees is essential to a business’s success. It is also what enables individuals and communities to advance their economic situation — making it the single most important issue to ensure North Carolina’s competitiveness.”
Arend also noted the surge in development projects that North Carolina saw in 2020, despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent economic wins included headline-worthy announcements from Apple, FUJIFILM and Red Bull (just to name a few).
RELATED READ: NC's Top 10 Job Announcements for the First Half of 2021
"If capital investment contracted during the pandemic, it wasn’t very noticeable there," he wrote.
So why did North Carolina continued to prosper?
According to Chris Chung, it's because the pandemic didn't affect North Carolina's fundamental advantages.
“Some of the areas that were booming before the pandemic, like some of the largest cities, perhaps took a step back. But North Carolina isn’t overwhelmingly dense or urban nor overwhelmingly rural. It’s that sweet spot you can imagine both companies and individuals would be seeking out," Chung explained.
He also explained how shifts in the way people work and where they want to work may ultimately benefit the state.
From the article in Site Selection, Chung stated, “If you look where the mobile or remote workforce is focused coming out of the pandemic you can see why a state like North Carolina would be very attractive in terms of affordability and quality of life, health care and education access. ...Perhaps some people now are done with life in New York City or Chicago and D.C. in terms of congestion and high cost. If they don’t have to be living in those places and are empowered to work remotely, this is very attractive option. North Carolina has the mix of qualities that would appeal to an individual who is seeking greener pastures post-pandemic.”