By Will Propst, Research Analyst
CNBC has ranked North Carolina the No. 3 state for business in its annual America’s Top States for Business study. Conducted each year since 2007, the study ranks all 50 states based on 60 metrics in 10 categories, including Workforce, Economy, Quality of Life and Cost of Doing Business. This year, North Carolina received 1,586 out of a possible 2,500 points, beat narrowly by Texas (1,589 points) and Virginia (1,610 points).
“While economic growth here pales in comparison to Washington and Utah, no state’s economy is on more solid ground than the Tar Heel state,” according to CNBC. “The housing market is healthy, and state finances are sound. The state attracted some $2.6 billion in venture capital in 2018, the 6th highest figure in the nation. It is also attracting skilled workers, who are moving to North Carolina in droves.”
Charlotte has emerged as a top hub for new business, attracting companies in the tech and banking industries. Since the establishment of the Federal Reserve’s Charlotte office in 1927, Charlotte has been a major financial hub in the U.S., and is currently the second largest. Financial institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Ally Bank, BB&T, Barings and Ernst and Young all have a significant presence in the Queen City, and have become natural catalysts for creating a large fintech hub. In fact, Cushman & Wakefield named Charlotte one of the Top 25 Tech Cities in 2018.
The recent merger between the Charlotte Chamber and Charlotte Regional Partnership to form the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance created an efficient mechanism for economic development, one that appears to be firing on all cylinders. Halfway through 2019, Charlotte has won the headquarters of newly formed Truist Bank (bank merger between BB&T and SunTrust) as well as large corporate office centers that include esteemed companies such as Lowe’s, Honeywell, Lending Tree and a Chewy.com distribution center that created more than 5,000 new jobs to the Queen City.
Access to capital needed to perpetuate growth, as well as the advantage of being near institutional banks (customers), offer startups—as well as established fintech companies—numerous opportunities in Charlotte. Banks also provide an enormous talent pool of employees that fintech startups can tap into. Synergy between Charlotte’s financial institutions and its growing fintech industry will continue as the modern financial marketplace evolves and implements technological innovation.
From Q2 2018 to Q2 2019, Charlotte added 26,700 new jobs and stayed at a low unemployment rate of 3.7%. With a growing tech workforce, a booming financial industry and a strong millennial growth rate, Charlotte is poised to be a forerunner of economic expansion not only in the Southeast but in the United States.