Charlotte’s resurgent economy gains national notice

If you think the Charlotte region’s economy seems to be looking up, you’re right. Southern Business & Development has named the Charlotte region its 2011 Major Market of the Year, along with New Orleans.

Among the 2010 deals that catapulted Charlotte to the top spot were Siemens Energy’s $135 million expansion that is bringing 825 new jobs, Hewitt Associates’ 463-job expansion and Fifth Third Bancorp’s $2 million location that is adding 250 jobs. Charlotte has received four Honorable Mentions in the last six years.

“From Clearwater Paper’s $260 million investment in Cleveland County that is creating 250 jobs to NutraMax’s 203 new jobs in Lancaster County to CITCO Fund Services 250 jobs in Mecklenburg, 2010 was indeed a very good year across our region,” said Ronnie Bryant, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Partnership. “Even during the recession, the assets that have long made our region one of the most competitive remained the same – outstanding accessibility, strong labor pool and a pro-business environment, not to mention an unparalleled quality of life.”

Unsurprisingly, Southern Business & Development reports that 2009 was the worst year for economic development in the magazine’s 18-year history. On the other hand, 2010 is the second best since 1994, and the best year in a dozen, with brisk activity throughout the southern part of the U.S.

The Charlotte region’s success helped lift North Carolina to a second-place showing for jobs and investment on a per capita basis, close on the heels of Louisiana, the top finisher, as South Carolina filled the fourth-place slot. Both Carolinas received Honorable Mentions.

The SB&D 100 only considers the top 100 project. Only those creating at least 200 select service or manufacturing jobs and/or investing $30 million or more are counted. Additional details on each of the top markets are here.

A nonprofit, public/private economic development organization, the Charlotte Regional Partnership allocates and leverages regional economic development resources to sustain and enhance the economic growth, vitality and global competitiveness of the Charlotte region. The 16-county region encompasses Alexander, Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties in North Carolina and Chester, Chesterfield, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.