Editor’s note: Kelly Campbell is president and co-founder of Interface Technologies in Raleigh and vice president for technology of the Association for Corporate Growth’s Raleigh-Durham chapter.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Who’s in charge of shaping North Carolina’s future?

According to Lew Ebert, head of the NC Chamber of Commerce, business leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the state.  Ebert spoke before an audience of Triangle executives at an event hosted by the Raleigh-Durham chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth earlier this week.

Ebert presented several grim facts about the state of the North Carolina economy.

  • 10.5% unemployment – a 35 year high
  • Three hundred thousand jobs lost
  • 0.3% increase in new jobs in the last decade
  • In 18 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, the unemployment check is the biggest employer

The state also faces a number of fiscal challenges. North Carolina currently has $2.5 billion deficit in its unemployment fund and is projected to run a $3.5 billion deficit in 2011. The deficit in the unemployment fund was of particular concern to Ebert because it is solely financed through unemployment insurance paid by businesses.

On a brighter note, North Carolina does have a number of positive achievements.

  • Number 1 ranking in Site Selection Magazine
  • Number 2 ranking in CEO Magazine
  • Number 3 ranking by Forbes

North Carolina remains the fifth largest manufacturing state in the nation. As one of the least unionized states, North Carolina continues to attract new companies. Recent legislative changes have been enacted to keep the state competitive relative to its peers, he added.

Ebert encouraged the audience to engage with state and local government officials to help North Carolina maintain its business friendly climate.

(Note: On Nov. 17 ACG Raleigh-Durham will host an international panel of tax experts discussing what companies need to know about taxes and doing business globally.)

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