The right mix

It’s difficult to encapsulate North Carolina in a word. From its vast expanse of sandy beaches in the east to its towering mountain ranges in the west, the state boasts a wide variety of both landscapes and business ventures.

The Charlotte region is home to 425 corporate headquarters, including several Fortune 500 companies (Ahead of the game). Western North Carolina, home to a billion-dollar craft-beer industry, attracts national brands looking for a thriving business environment and excellent quality of life ( A hopping industry). In the east, a new workforce-training program is prepping the labor pipeline through manufacturing-education programs (Ramping up for a boom). The Triangle area is a red-hot center for software development and life-sciences companies, including serving as one of the biggest gene-therapy research capitals in the world (A new pair of genes). The state’s middle section, now branded by the Carolina Core initiative, is taking a broader look at economic development through its megasite offerings (Core strength).

Perhaps the right word to capture the spirit of the Tar Heel State is diversity, which is driving major economic growth and attracting new residents from around the world. North Carolina ranks as the 12th fastest-growing state for population, with an 8.9% gain from 2010-18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Among the 10 most populous states, it was No. 3 in growth. Newcomers are drawn by three of the nation’s highest-rated research universities, dozens of other public and private universities, and 58 community colleges that offer a vast array of education and workforce-training opportunities (Building a community). Tourism spending topped $25.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 4.8% from 2017, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce. 2018 also saw a $3.54 billion projected investment in new projects, with 157 new projects or expansions that engaged state economic developers.

So come join the excitement. North Carolina is ready and open for business. For more information, check out

— Taylor Wanbaugh, project editor

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