CNBC has named North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2023 for the second year in a row. This morning, Governor Roy Cooper joined CNBC’s Scott Cohn at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville for a live broadcast where the winner was revealed.
“When we invest in our people, we invest in the foundation of our success,” said Governor Cooper. “Thanks to our well-trained, dedicated and diverse workforce, North Carolina has been named the top state for business for the second year in a row and it’s important for us to invest in the education and well being of our people to continue our amazing success.”
“After another record-breaking year for economic development wins, I am more than proud to see the great state of North Carolina recognized as the best state in the nation for business yet again,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Last year’s performance includes nearly 29,000 new jobs and $19.3 billion in investments – the result of collaborative leadership and hard work. My team and I are proud to have launched the state’s ‘First In Talent’ strategic economic development plan, intentionally incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion practices that have facilitated booming economic opportunities for all North Carolinians.”
“North Carolina is once again the best state for business,” said Gene McLaurin, chair of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s (EDPNC) Board of Directors. “Thanks to the collaboration between Governor Cooper, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the EDPNC and other public and private partnerships, we’ve created a strong business environment to help companies grow and thrive in our state.”
The CNBC study looks at 86 metrics in ten categories of competitiveness. North Carolina ranked #1 in workforce and highly in the economy, technology and innovation, and access to capital categories. This is the second year in a row that CNBC has named North Carolina as America’s top state for business and only the second time in the ranking’s history that a state has received the top spot two years in a row. Since 2017, North Carolina has placed in the top five of state rankings four times.
Earlier this year, North Carolina also won Site Selection Magazine’s Prosperity Cup for the third year in a row, which recognizes the competitiveness of state-level economic development agencies and their success in landing capital investment projects. This year, North Carolina also won Area Development magazine’s 2023 Platinum Shovel Award which recognizes states that went above and beyond the gold standard for investment and job creation and received Business Facilities magazine’s State of the Year award after a historic year of economic development and job growth.
Since Governor Cooper took office in 2017, North Carolina has announced over 103,000 jobs including major jobs announcements from companies like Apple, Wolfspeed, Toyota, VinFast, and Boom Supersonic. North Carolina continues to recruit good-paying jobs to add to the advanced manufacturing, clean energy and technology industries already thriving in the rural and urban parts of the state.
Governor Cooper is focused on making investments in North Carolina’s most valuable resource: Its people. In May 2021, the Governor launched the Longleaf Commitment Community College Grants Program that ensures that recent high school graduates from low- and middle-income families will receive at least $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges. In July 2018, the Governor announced the Finish Line Grants Program to help community college students who face unforeseen financial emergencies complete their training.
In March 2023, Governor Cooper signed legislation to expand Medicaid in North Carolina and extend health care coverage to over 600,000 people while bringing billions in federal dollars to the state. The agreement to expand Medicaid followed years of coalition-building by the Governor to bring people from all corners of the state together to highlight the critical need for health care in every community. Veterans, early childhood educators, restaurant workers, nursing home workers are all among the groups that often fall into the coverage gap and sometimes have to work two or more jobs to afford health care.
In October 2021, Governor Cooper launched the North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants, a $805 million investment in the state’s early childhood education and child care programs. These funds helped child care centers with recruitment and retention, parents get back to work and businesses hire employees.
Education is critical to a talented workforce, and the Governor has made investments in education a priority. He has proposed an 18% pay raise over two years for teachers, which would make North Carolina first in the Southeast in teacher pay. Governor Cooper’s proposed budget would invest substantially in public schools, workforce training and child care to ensure that our workforce is prepared for the great jobs coming to the state.