North Carolina took fifth place among the Top States for Doing Business, up from seventh place in 2011 and eighth in 2010. The state ranked second (tied) for its overall labor climate because of its availability of skilled labor, competitive labor costs, and leading work force development programs.
North Carolina was also ranked second in the country for certified sites or shovel-ready programs — a result of its recently updated Certified Sites Program. This database is available to companies and consultants and provides detailed information on all shovel-ready sites, including environmental tests, soil conditions, existing infrastructure and utilities, pricing information, etc.
North Carolina is securing new projects across traditional sectors such as lumber, agriculture, furniture, and textiles, as well as advanced manufacturing industries including aerospace, defense, automotive, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, alternative energy, and information and computer technology. For example, Linamar Corporation, a Canada-based supplier of engine, transmission, and driveline components, will undertake a $75 million, 250-job expansion of its manufacturing operations in Asheville. In the energy sector, Schletter plans to manufacture solar mounting systems at a new, $27 million facility in Shelby, creating 305 new jobs. One reason North Carolina was highly ranked by the consultants for access to capital (third) is the One North Carolina Fund, a highly effective program that provides financial assistance for companies that will have significant economic development impact within the state. Ralph Lauren Corporation, for example, received a $500,000 One North Carolina Fund grant for the $97 million, 500-job expansion of its operations in High Point. Other recent grants have been awarded to Ashley Furniture for its $80 million expansion in Davie County and Hospira’s $85 million expansion of its biomedical operations in Nash County, adding 200 new jobs. More than 60,000 jobs and $11 billion in investment have been created since the One North Carolina Fund was established in 2001.
“My first priority is creating jobs,” says Governor Beverly Perdue. “Hospira knows our highly skilled work force and strong business climate have helped the company thrive in North Carolina. It’s always great news when existing companies choose to invest new resources in our state.”