The Transylvania Times -

State Is Good For Business

 

Last updated 2/15/2021 at 2:29pm



In his column in today’s paper entitled “Build On N.C.’s Strengths,” John Hood points out many of the positive aspects of North Carolina. In particular, Hood refers to a study done by researchers at Arizona State University about doing business in the United States.

According to their research, Raleigh is the best city in the United States to do business. Greensboro ranks No. 35 and Charlotee ranks No. 38.

Rankings, of course, are only as reliable as the metrics on which they are based and the information gathered. In this case, researchers focused on six categories: starting a business, employing workers, getting electricity, land and space use, paying taxes and resolving insolvency. Those metrics make sense but they are not comprehensive and each metric reveals the researchers’ own biases as to what is important. In this case, broadband availability, which is becoming more important to businesses each day, was not considered. (If it were, Raleigh probably still would have ranked high given all the tech firms in that area.)

This study, however, is not the only one in which North Carolina or some of its cities have been ranked high as a good place to have a business.

In November of 2020, Site Selection magazine ranked North Carolina tied for first with Georgia in business climate. The magazine surveyed corporate executives and site selectors and based its rankings on population growth, workforce development, a large and accessible talent pool, good tax climate and state incentives. This, however, is not the first time North Carolina received top honors. The magazine also had tabbed North Carolina for the best business climated from 2005 to 2010.

In 2019, Forbes ranked North Carolina as the best state for business. It was the third year in a row Forbes ranked North Carolina first. Forbes ranked the states on business costs, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. The state ranked fourth for low business costs and ninth for labor supply.

Even with the pandemic, many businesses have announced plans for expansion in the state. Of course, most of the business growth is occurring in the Piedmont. Amazon opened a fulfillment center in Kernersville that employs 1,000 people, and Bandwidth, a communications software company, plans to add another 1,165 positions in the next eight years in Raleigh. Closer to home, aerospace company Pratt & Whitney announced plans to build a $650 million plant south of Asheville that will employ 800 people, and Amazon has opened a new delivery center in Mills River that employs approximately 200 people.

Business expansion, however, raises questions. If North Carolina is No. 1 when it comes to business, should the state take any further steps to attract business? Are these new or expanding businesses going to hire local residents or primarily hire people from outside the region?

What about the external costs? More business means more roads and more traffic, but less forests and green spaces. Anyone who lived here 30 years ago has seen traffic in our forests proliferate to the extent that it is difficult to find solitude.

People need jobs, good-paying jobs, and it’s good that North Carolina is expanding the job market, that this state is a good place to conduct business.

The real trick is going to be maintaining the natural beauty and small-town ambiance that has attracted so many businesses and people to this state while it continues to grow.

Correction

In last Thursday’s editorial we incorrectly stated that the death rate in the county was 643 people per 100,000 residents. It should have read “the number of new COVID-19 cases during the past 14 days was 643 per 100,000 residents.” Comparisons with other counties also showed the number of new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, not the number of deaths, per 100,000 residents.

We apologize for the error and thank those who brought it our attention.

 
 

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