RALEIGH – Nearly 200 economic development projects were announced by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in 2022 in yet another record-breaking year for the state.

Across 182 announced business recruitment, expansion, or rural development projects, the state is projected to see a direct investment of $19.3 billion of capital, with companies committing to add a total of 28,690 new jobs.

That tops the prior record for both capital and jobs.  In 2021, there were 24,224 jobs announced and $10.1 billion investment committed to projects.

North Carolina’s Economic Development Partnership, which often works with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, also reported records in 2021:

  • Projects won – 148
  • Capital investment – $15.55 billion
  • Jobs created – 26,940

The state was named the best in the nation for business by CNBC in July and last week was named the “State of the Year” for 2022.

“North Carolina continues to be the best place for people to live, learn, work and raise a family, and these economic development results show companies recognize our appeal as a business location,” said Governor Roy Cooper in a statement on Monday.  “We’re building a stronger economy that works for everyone and I am excited about North Carolina’s future.”

North Carolina is ‘State of Year’ for economic development, magazine says

Top projects

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the top projects for 2022, as ranked by job creation totals, included:

  • Vinfast’s selection of Chatham County for its North American manufacturing and assembly factory for electric vehicles, which will create 7,500 jobs;
  • Macy’s decision to build its first automated fulfillment center in China Grove (Rowan County), creating 2,800 jobs;
  • Wolfspeed’s choice of Chatham County for a major manufacturing campus for silicon carbide materials for computer chips, creating 1,801 jobs;
  • Boom Supersonic’s selection of Greensboro as the site of its Superfactory to build the next generation of commercial supersonic airliners, creating 1,761 jobs at the Piedmont Triad Airport.

“North Carolina has enjoyed two years now of record-setting performance,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders in a statement. “This economic development success comes in no small part from the hard work of many local, regional and state leaders, Chris Chung and his team at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and economic developers across the state.”

Chung spoke at two events last week, outlining why North Carolina remains poised to land even more economic development projects in 2023, including the possibility that there would be multiple projects selecting the state that would bring at least $1 billion in investment.

“We continue, and expect to continue to see a lot of these large, and one could argue, transformative type projects,” Chung said at an event on Wednesday.

NC’s life science sector lands $2.1B in expansions plus 2,700 job commitments in ’22

But it’s not all good news and optimism.  On Friday, Chung told an audience that despite the state’s accolades, there are challenges for the state.

There aren’t many sites that are ready for selection by companies looking for major facilities, said Chung.

“Demand is not the problem,” said Chung.  “Supply is the problem.”

The state’s ability to land additional mega projects would “alter the trajectory” of the regions of North Carolina that are able to land them, said Chung.

NC’s past economic development failures are behind the state, and more wins are coming in 2023


Projects in Rural NC

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, nearly two-thirds of all economic development projects announced in 2022 were in rural North Carolina, as delineated by North Carolina’s economic development tier system.

Significant projects announced in 2022:

Biopharma manufacturing firm picks Wilson for new plant, 250+ jobs

Automaker VinFast to invest $4B in Chatham County assembly plant, lands $1.25B incentive package