Economic development project activity continues to be strong despite concerns about government default, the economy and the labor force – not that any of those topics are unimportant. Businesses still must plan for the future and consider the risks…and C-suite leaders can’t just sit back and wait until things are perfect.
So, this month, we’ve worked thirteen projects (including one we received this morning). Last May, we received 12 projects for the month. Previous years’ totals through May and the year-to-date numbers show that we are right on target.
Interestingly, we are seeing many electric vehicle projects. Some are extremely large in terms of the capital investment and number of jobs created. A handful of projects would invest billions of dollars in facilities, machinery and equipment and employ over a thousand people. Most of these very large projects are connected to EV battery production.
There is also considerable activity in the life science sector. Gene therapy and cell therapy are two areas of a significant number of projects. These companies would draw talent from all over the world with some of the highest wage rates in our state.
We also had a few projects in the semiconductor industry, the textile industry, and home goods. We worked several heavy manufacturing projects like utility grid components and building products. We’ve had some quirky projects connected to the film industry and leisure recreation.
I’ve written in this space several times about our labor situation. It is improving slightly because of people moving into our community. Also, as wages have increased, more people who had stopped working (either retired or were staying home to care for children or an elderly adult) have gone back to work. The numbers are not huge, but there is a statistical difference.
The second half of the year is expected to be a “roller coaster” …some industries are expecting strong growth, other are forecasting a pull-back. Thankfully, we’re in the best place in the US economically.
By the way, we got a great shout out and good publicity from Business NC magazine for hosting the NC Certified Economic Developer class. Sanford is definitely on the map!