Magazine Ranks North Carolina 2020 State of the Year

January 5, 2021


RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina has been named 2020 State of the Year by Business Facilities magazine, a title that recognizes the state’s success in winning projects that create capital investment and new jobs.

Business Facilities, a national publication serving corporate site selectors and economic development professionals, announced the recognition today. This marks the first time North Carolina has earned the magazine’s top honor, bestowed annually since 2007.

“North Carolina is leveraging its advantages ― including a prime logistics location, a steadily expanding skilled workforce and impressive higher education resources ― to seal the deal on one big project after another,” said Editor in Chief Jack Rogers.

“The Tar Heel State has put down a marker that it’s ready to compete for a leadership position in the emerging growth sectors of the 21st century,” he added.

Christopher Chung, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, welcomed the recognition of business recruitment success in a year when many companies put expansion plans on hold during the downturn of a global pandemic.

“It was reassuring to see the high quality and wide diversity of project wins we had in 2020 – particularly in biotech and pharmaceutical, information technology, food and beverage production, and distribution and warehousing,” Chung said.

All told, companies launching state-supported projects in 2020 announced plans for over 20,000 new jobs and more than $6 billion in investment. The annual announced investment is the highest for North Carolina in over a decade.

“We had some major projects come through in 2020,” Chung said. “For example, even with the aviation industry being hard hit by COVID-19, Pratt & Whitney chose Asheville for a $650-million turbine airfoil production facility that will create 800 new jobs. North Carolina even won one of its largest state-incentivized projects ever with health insurer Centene picking Charlotte for its East Coast headquarters and tech hub – a $1-billion campus that Centene executives expect will create up to 6,000 new jobs over the coming years.”

In terms of capital investment, other big projects the state won in 2020 include pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company choosing Durham for a $470-million pharmaceutical manufacturing facility and Nestlé Purina Petcare Company investing $450 million to transform a shuttered Eden brewery into a pet food manufacturing plant.

Chung noted that as the year wrapped up, a significantly higher number of potential new recruitment deals entered the state’s active pipeline in November and December compared to the same period in 2019.

“I think optimism around the accelerated development and approval of multiple effective Covid-19 vaccines is leading companies to pursue expansion plans delayed by the pandemic,” he said. “And North Carolina is remaining a strong contender for those projects.”