ROCKINGHAM — The Tar Heel State is the best for business, according to a recent study by CNBC.
The network on Wednesday announced North Carolina as the No. 1 overall among America’s Top States for Business with a score of 1,580 out of a possible 2,500, according to a press release.
During a live interview with Gov. Roy Cooper at Wrightsville Beach, CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn said North Carolina has ranked in the Top 10 for 13 of the past 14 years, “but never number one until now.”
“North Carolina is the best place in America to do business and the main reason is our people,” Cooper said in a press release. “This is a great honor, and we’re going to continue to work with our state legislature, businesses, education leaders and employees to build the talented workforce and resilient infrastructure needed to support the high paying jobs of the next generation.”
Cooper said workforce is one of the main driving factors for CEOs “and they see North Carolina as a place where they can rely on our community colleges, our greatest array of private and public universities in the country to make sure that they have the workforce that they need.”
Rounding out the Top 5 are Washington (2), neighboring Virginia (3), Colorado (4) and Texas (5).
“North Carolina is proud of its economic success that continues to garner national recognition like being CNBC’s Best State for Business,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Last year, we announced more than 24,000 new jobs and investments exceeding $10.1 billion from future-focused companies in fields like biotechnology, computers, and electric vehicles.
“There are many factors for our success, including our central East Coast location, premier quality of life and low cost of business, but our greatest asset is our diverse and highly-skilled workforce that is supported by our top-rated education system,” Sanders continued. “We will continue to focus on creative partnerships for talent development as we evolve to meet the demands of existing, new, and future employers like Apple, Toyota, and FUJIFILM that call North Carolina home.”
“To say North Carolina had a record year in 2021 would be an understatement,” said Gene McLaurin, chair of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina’s Board of Directors.
McLaurin is a former mayor of Rockingham and state senator and was appointed by Cooper to his current position in 2021.
“Our economic development successes would not have been possible without collaboration between Governor Cooper, the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the EDPNC, and other public and private partnerships,” McLaurin continued. “Because of that collaboration, we have been able to create an award-winning business climate that the biggest companies in the world want to experience and use for their own successes, as well as for the successes of North Carolinians.”
North Carolina has been honored two consecutive years by Site Selector magazine for its economic development efforts.
In addition to placing in the top spot overall, North Carolina also was ranked No. 1 for economy due to its “robust economic and job growth, solid state finances, and a healthy housing market.”
With Charlotte as home to two of the nation’s Top 10 largest banking institutions, N.C. ranked second in access to capital behind California — which also came in first for technology and innovation, but 29th overall.
The study shows N.C.’s other top rankings as fifth for technology and innovation, due to Research Triangle Park; 12th in workforce; and 17th in infrastructure.
The state is also ranked 22nd in both business friendliness and cost of living and 26th in cost of doing business.
CNBC cites the state’s lack of antidiscrimination laws and healthcare resources and spending not keeping up with the state’s growth for ranking 28th in life, health and inclusion.
Mississippi is ranked as the worst state for business.