RALEIGH – North Carolina is the top state in the U.S. for business climate, according to a new rankings report from Site Selection Magazine.
North Carolina beat out Georgia, who had previously ranked in or shared the top spot for the prior eight years, for first overall in the 2021 rankings. The states tied for first place in last year’s report.
North Carolina ranked second for the five previous years after earning the top ranking each year between 2005 and 2010.
Where North Carolina beat out all other U.S. states was in the new firm tax index rank and among the publication’s “Prosperity Cup” rank.
Overall, North Carolina scored a 50. Georgia ranked second, scoring 49, and Texas ranked third, scoring 48.
Site Selection noted that the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s recently released Strategic Economic Development Plan, “First in Talent,” would not have factored into this year’s rankings, but that the plan could bolster North Carolina’s ranking at or near the top for years to come.
“It will likely help in the years to come,” the report reads.
One advantage for North Carolina, according to the report, is the state’s corporate tax rate: 2.5% — the lowest of the 44 states that levy such a tax.
North Carolina continued to attract companies to make investments in the state, despite the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020, which earned the state the designation of the “2020 State of the Year” from a business and economic development publication.
Some 20,000 jobs were announced in North Carolina in 2020, which contributed to the awarding of the “State of the Year” moniker.
Notable projects announced since 2020 began include:
- a $650 million turbine airfoil production facility from Pratt & Whitney in Asheville, which is expected to create 800 new jobs,
- the new headquarters location for Centene in Charlotte,
- a $1 billion campus that could create as many as 6,000 jobs and a minimum of 3,200 jobs, a $470 million pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Durham from Eli Lilly and Company,
- Apple’s new $1 billion east coast campus that will create 3,000 new jobs
- FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ new $2 billion facility in Holly Springs that is anticipated to create 725 new jobs.
And more projects may be coming.
In Wake County, the economic development pipeline remains strong, as well, according to Wake County Economic Development, whose July update noted a potential 48 additional projects under consideration that could result in $4.8 billion invested and some 10,000 jobs.
These potential projects could follow what Haley called “an incredibly strong year,” in delivering an annual report in September. With 5,815 jobs and $3.7 billion in capital investment announced in the organization’s prior fiscal year, Haley noted it was the entity’s “best year yet.”