The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday February 3rd

North Carolina gains over 28,000 jobs, Chapel Hill sees opportunities for growth

Franklin Street is pictured here on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.
Buy Photos Franklin Street is pictured here on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina gained 28,690 new jobs in 2022, according to a press release issued by the North Carolina Department of Commerce on Monday. 

CNBC and Business Facilities named North Carolina the State of the Year for Business in 2022 following an uptick in jobs and economic investment development.

Last year, 24,224 new jobs were announced and capital investment reached $10.1 billion. This year, capital investment is expected to reach $19.3 billion.

“It’s been a sort of record-breaking year for us on the amount of projects we have worked on that have announced these levels of jobs and investment,” David Rhoades, communications director of the NCDOC, said.

Rhoades said companies have committed to invest the $19.3 billion to bring revenue to the surrounding community and locate business projects in North Carolina.

“The real key almost all CEOs are going to be looking for is, 'This place I’m considering moving my company — do they have the ability or the current availability of the people I will need to hire in order to be successful?'" Rhoades said. 

A main aspect of this “key” is the value of research universities and community colleges in North Carolina producing graduates ready to work, according to Rhoades.

Biotechnology and life sciences are two industries that Rhoades highlighted as key elements in economic development. He also said these elements have contributed to retaining workers and creating future jobs.

Dwight Bassett, Town of Chapel Hill director of economic development & parking services, said locally, some developments bringing in new companies include the innovation hub on 136 Rosemary St. and the Gwendolyn office spaces located in the Glen Lennox community.

Well Dot, a health technology firm that picked Chapel Hill over Boston as its main location, is expected to bring in 400 jobs to downtown Chapel Hill, according to the Triangle Business Journal.

 Matt Gladdek, the executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said the company received state economic grants to develop on Franklin Street in 2019.

A wet lab space in downtown Chapel Hill has also been approved, according to Bassett. 

He said this is important because the Town will benefit from research taking place on UNC's campus being able to transform into life science companies that can now operate in Chapel Hill. 

Retaining UNC startups has previously been difficult due to limited office space in Chapel Hill, and most companies have had to do their work in other areas such as downtown Durham, according to Gladdek.

He said now, however, the money brought in from research at UNC can start to move to Chapel Hill as companies begin to grow in the Town, especially with life science work.

Bassett said he believes the most exciting and important thing for downtown Chapel Hill is having employees downtown to support local businesses. He drew attention to the fact that Chapel Hill is a college town with a student population that doesn't stay in town throughout the whole year.

"We’ve been talking for a really long time of how to have a 12-month downtown versus an 8- or 9-month downtown because students go away and our businesses struggle,” Bassett said.

Bassett also said downtown development benefits employees because it reduces people's need to commute outside Chapel Hill for work.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in developing more space, which I think is in large part because of the increase in population and the increase in jobs and the type of jobs and the desire to be in an amenity-rich environment like downtown,” Gladdek said.

@carolinehorne22

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 


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