NORTH CAROLINA

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Region: Southeastern Region

Capital City: Raleigh

State Governor: Roy Cooper

Principal Cities: Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville

Welcome to the State of North Carolina

Experience Growth from the Mountains to the Coast

With an overall GDP comparable to Sweden, North Carolina (over 10,5 million inhabitants) is located in the middle of the East Coast. Its top-notch airports in the cities of Charlotte and Raleigh are directly connected with Europe and the entire US market. Over 1000 European companies are already present across the state, profiting from its unique business climate, low taxes (2,5% corporate income tax) and quality of life (“Best State for Business” according to a yearly ranking published by Forbes Magazine: https://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business/list/).

Our diverse economy is particularly strong in the manufacturing sector (segments such as automotive, aerospace and machinery), life science (1st biomanufacturing cluster in the USA and a very strong pharmaceutical cluster as well), financial services (the city of Charlotte is the 2nd financial hub in the USA, hosting Bank of America and Wells Fargo) and ICT (data analytics and cybersecurity is our focus, through companies such as IBM, Citrix and Microsoft).

Why invest in the State of North Carolina

North Carolina not only hosts the largest manufacturing workforce and economy in the South-eastern United States, and the biggest research and technology park in North America (the Research Triangle Park hosts 50.000 tech professionals – https://www.rtp.org/), but is sustained by a thriving university and research ecosystem. Its academic and R&D landscape include NC State University (4th largest engineering college in the USA), Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the NC Biotech Center, the Nonwovens Institute at NC State University and multiple technical colleges and professional schools, often modeled after the German Dual Education Apprenticeship System. Of utmost importance, North Carolina is the 3rd fastest-growing state in the Country, guaranteeing a skilled and available workforce for your company.

Economic Overview:

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North Carolina’s commitment to innovation and state-of-the-art research and educational facilities has transformed North Carolina into a forward-thinking, knowledge-based economy with the largest advanced manufacturing workforce in the southeastern United States.

A Right-to-Work state, North Carolina boasts an impressive array of vocationally trained workers and those with advanced degrees. 475,000+ manufacturing employees is the largest in the region, and our talent pipeline is full of roughly 158,000+ postsecondary degree and certificate recipients each year.
North Carolina has 53 colleges and universities, among which are three Tier 1 research universities — NCSU, Duke and the UNC. The publicly funded university system draws students from all over the world to its 17 institutions. Additionally, NC enrolls more than 680,000 students each year at the 58-campus community college system state-wide, offering some of the most comprehensive and advanced vocational and technical programs in the United States.

More about Workforce & Education

North Carolina is recognized for its pro-business environment: Forbes Magazine has ranked North Carolina #1 State for doing business three consecutive years. 2.5% corporate tax – lowest corporate income tax rate in the United States.

Ernst & Young and the Council on State Taxation rank North Carolina a top three state for lowest state and local tax burden in the country.
North Carolina’s business costs rank among the lowest in the nation, making it a more profitable place to work: Building costs: 16% below the national average. Electricity costs: 10 % below the national average. Cost of living: up to 12 % below the national average.

More about the Business Climate

North Carolina’s prime location on the eastern seaboard means that almost half of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive. Four international airports, two deep water seaports and a strong rail system further enhance the state’s supply chain advantages:

Airports: 
Sea Ports:
  • Port of Morehead City, General cargo and bulk handling facilities, direct access to I-40, I-74, I-95, U.S. 17 and U.S. 74, serviced by Norfolk Southern.
  • Port of Wilmington, Container and general operations, access to I-95 and I-40 via U.S. 70 and U.S. 17, serviced by CSX.
  • North Carolina’s extensive transportation network also allows for quick and easy access to other major U.S. seaports such as Norfolk, VA, Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.

     

Rail: Largest consolidated rail system in the country

North Carolina’s rail connections extend all the way to the coast, enabling the state ports in Morehead City and Wilmington to offer import and export services to a large market:

  • More than 3,200 miles (5,100 km) of track
  • Two Class 1 Carriers: CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern
  • Direct service to North American markets and to all major ports along the U.S. East Coast

More about Infrastructure & Location

North Carolina’s targeted, performance-based incentive programs help companies that are locating and doing business in North Carolina by lessening the tax burden and lowering overall costs to the company.

  • North Carolina’s County development tier system is incorporated into various state programs to encourage economic activity in the less prosperous areas of the state.
  • JDIG – Job Development Investment Grant – is a performance-based, discretionary incentive program that provides cash grants directly to new and expanding businesses.
  • One North Carolina Fund – NC state cash-grant program
  • Building Reuse and Demolition Programs
  • Public Infrastructure Development Programs
  • Joint Economic Transportation Development Programs
  • Workforce Training and Development
  • Tax Exemptions 

More about the Incentives

With a moderate climate throughout the year, North Carolina is renowned for its natural beauty and diverse geography.

Residents and visitors can enjoy the iconic mountains on the western end of the state, bustling city skylines in the middle region, and 300 miles of beautiful beaches on the coast.

With cost of living well below the national average, an affordable healthcare and great educational system, North Carolina also offers a wide variety of cultural and outdoor recreational activities.

More about the Quality of Life

Key Industries

Advanced Manufacturing

NC has leading proficiencies in industrial components and advanced metallurgy for segments such as automotive, aerospace, defense, and machinery production. NC hosts much of the South-eastern supply chains supporting BMW, Toyota, Volvo, Daimler, Continental, Bridgestone, Caterpillar, Linamar, Honda Jet, Honeywell, Siemens Energy, ABB, Pratt & Whitney Aerospace, GE Aviation and many other industrial OEMs.

More about Advanced Manufacturing

4

Military Technologies & Defense

Defense is the 2nd largest sector of North Carolina’s economy – $66 Billion. NC has the 3rd highest active-duty presence, home to 6 major Army, Marine, Air Force and Coast Guard bases, and over 100 NCNG and Reserve facilities. Fort Bragg is the largest Army military fort in the USA and is based in NC. In addition, the Marine Corps have set the Air Station Cherry Point, the Air Station New River and Base Camp Lejeune, in combination with the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point. The Air Force is also present through its Seymour Johnson Air Force Base: https://edpnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/2020-AUSA-Trifold_81720.pdf

More about Defense

7

ICT & Tech Companies

Data analytics and software development are a core element of the local strengths, with companies such as Apple, Google, IBM, SAS, Red Hat (was founded by the inventor of Linux in North Carolina), Citrix, Cisco and Microsoft. One of the fastest-growing and top-performing tech ecosystems in the nation. North Carolina’s technology industry is growing at twice the rate of the national average, also thanks to the robust life-science ecosystem. An active part of the state’s growing tech presence is its dynamic entrepreneurial environment, which has been a driving factor for continuously strong private and equity funding.

More about Information Technology 

Aerospace

With 13% employment growth from 2015-2019 North Carolina’s aerospace manufacturing sector has grown 3x the national average and is home to over 200 leading aerospace companies spread across the state. Major industry sectors include both airplane assembly and parts manufacturing. Over 400 establishments make up North Carolina’s aerospace supply chain, including engineering, composite, textile, manufacturing, and MRO companies.

More about Aerospace / Aerospace-Brochure.pdf

Financial Services

The city of Charlotte offers the 2nd banking hub in the USA, hosting Bank of America, Wells Fargo and a growing FinTech community. By combining North Carolina’s exceptional talent with its spirit of innovation, local startups and financial giants alike have been at the forefront of innovation in the financial space.

More about Business & Financial Services 

Textiles

With over $2 billion in textile exports in 2019, North Carolina leads the nation in total value of textile exports and ranks #1 in total textile investment in the United States. The state employs over 40,000 people in more than 600 textile manufacturing facilities. This includes the largest nonwovens manufacturing workforce in the U.S. Thousands of North Carolinians work in occupations that have transferable skill sets for the industry. Advanced Materials including military uniforms and equipment, synthetic fibers, nonwoven applications, environmental protection products, industrial and automotive filters, and apparel create a unique cluster in the US in terms of technological know-how. North Carolina State University’s globally recognized College of Textiles leads the nation in nonwovens research and industry partnerships.

More about Textiles / Textiles-Brochure.pdf

10

Food Processing & Manufacturing

2nd largest US state for food and beverage processing, with over 1200 manufacturing establishments and 178 million customers within one day’s drive. North Carolina’s strong food and beverage manufacturing industry enjoys convenient access to local and regional suppliers. The industry includes a variety of clusters including agriculture, confectionary manufacturing, snack production, and the third-largest animal processing cluster. North Carolina’s hog and pork processing industry generates more than $10 billion in economic output for the state and is home to the world’s largest pork processing plant. North Carolina is also home to the origin of Krispy Kream Doughnuts (1937), which laid the foundation for its strong pastry industry.

More about Food Processing & Manufacturing

Biotech & Life Science

With the largest biologics manufacturing cluster in the USA, NC competes on a global level, particularly in gene and cell therapies, plant science, regenerative medicine, and advanced vaccine research. North Carolina is also home to the nation’s largest research park (RTRP), comprised of 250+ companies and 50,000+ employees with industry specializations including biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. The RTP is also home to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the First Flight Venture Center.

More about Biotech & Pharmaceuticals / Life-Sciences-Brochure.pdf

Renewable Energy

2nd U.S. state in solar generation, 1st in the Southeast for wind energy, and active plans for offshore wind farms. These developments are backstopped and supported by the largest private electric utility provider in the US, headquartered in North Carolina: Duke Energy.

Offshore-Wind-Energy-Brochure.pdf

9

Furniture

 Largest furniture industry in the United States. North Carolina’s robust furniture industry value-chain is comprised of 3,000 establishments and more than 36,000 employees statewide. The state’s concentration of furniture manufacturing activity is more than three times the national average.

North Carolina’s 560 lumber wood product manufacturing establishments and workforce of 19,400 make it the sixth-largest wood product manufacturing industry in the U.S. Combined with the state’s rich legacy of textile production, furniture makers large and small have everything they need to craft masterworks of form and function at their fingertips. North Carolina also hosts the High Point Market – the world’s largest furnishings industry trade show, bringing more than 75,000 attendees to High Point twice a year. The market hosts more than 2,000 exhibitors, with more than 100 countries represented.

More about Furniture Manufacturing 

State Demographics

10.6 % million
Population (2020)
4.7 % million
Labor Force (2020)
$ 499 billion
GSP (2020)
4 %
Latest Unemployment Rate (2019)
$ 28 billion
Exports (2020)
$ 48496
Per Capita Personal Income (2019)

What we can do to Help you

We provide - entirely free of charge - market entry services, real estate assistance, sector-specific business information, strategic introductions to universities, technical colleges, and professional recruitment channels, as well as fiscal incentives.

Our state agency helps companies who are considering launching new operations or expanding existing ones in the USA through governmental support. EDPNC can assign financial & tax incentives while sharing strategic contacts offered by the State of North Carolina.

The European office of North Carolina´s Economic Development Agency is led by Luigi Mercuri and Archibald Astley-Corbett - EDPNC - www.edpnc.com. The EDPNC is supported by North Carolina´s Department of Commerce. We assist European companies in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
If you have further questions or would like to receive additional information on how we can support your business growth and US presence in North Carolina, please contact:

Luigi Mercuri
Managing Director of Investment Europe
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
Mobile: +49 (0)1522 4385 559
Email: luigi.mercuri@edpnc.com
Web: www.edpnc.com

Successful Company CASE Studies

Novo Nordisk

Danish multinational pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has invested $2 billion in a new active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production facility in Clayton, NC. The expansion will help Novo Nordisk to meet the increasing U.S. demand for its diabetes and obesity medicines - the new API facility has been operational since 2020.

Apple

In April 2021, Apple announced plans to spend over $1 billion on a new campus in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, close to Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina, which will employ 3,000 people working on technology including software engineering and machine learning.

Google

In March 2021, Google announced the opening of a new cloud engineering hub in Durham, North Carolina. The company said the office will eventually support more than 1,000 jobs and grow into one of Google Cloud’s top five engineering hubs in the U.S.

GE Aviation

A global leader in jet engine production, GE Aviation has invested nearly $250 million in upgrades of its operations across North Carolina during the past five years. Responding to demand for jet engines and aircraft systems, GE Aviation improved all four of its North Carolina manufacturing and assembly plants, which together employ nearly 1,700 people and play a key role in production of the record-selling CFM LEAP jet engine.

ABB

In 2019, Swedish-Swiss industrial company ABB, a global supplier of electrification products, robotics, and industrial automation, selected Orange County, NC, for a major manufacturing operation expansion investment of over $39 million, upgrading equipment and increasing the size of its current facility in the city of Mebane, creating an additional 400 new jobs. ABB also has their North American HQ in Raleigh, NC, and thousands of employees in the state.

Daimler AG

In 2017, Daimler Trucks North America made a significant future development investment of $27 million, expanding its existing truck manufacturing plant in Cleveland, N.C., with the addition of a state-of-the-art logistics center, adding a significant number of new jobs to the 1400+ strong workforce. The Cleveland facility produces Freightliner and Western Star Class 8 models for sale in North America, along with the Freightliner Columbia® and Argosy® cab-over-engine models for the export market.

Sierra Nevada

California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., one of the nation’s largest, chose North Carolina for its new $100 million brewery now serving as its East Coast headquarters. It considered more than 200 sites in 2011 before settling on Mills River, a small town near Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains.

 

For more information on the Success Stories, please visit: https://edpnc.com/nc-success-stories/ 

Contact Information

Luigi Mercuri, Managing Director of Investment Europe
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina

News about North Carolina