Chamber Blog

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Latest Jobs Report: Mecklenburg Co. Adding People and Jobs

The most recent jobs report is great news for our area with the unemployment rate now at 7.1 percent. For context, let’s go back three years to November 2010 when the rate was 10.9 percent – 3.8 percentage points higher than the current rate. The number of employed residents tells the story better — nearly 39,000 more Mecklenburg County residents are employed now than three years ago.

The most impressive part of the story is really the labor force growth. National labor force growth is essentially stagnant, growing less than 1 percent in three years, but the labor force here has grown by 4.7 percent, or 22,800 people. We are adding people and jobs.

So while the national unemployment rate is significantly lower than Charlotte’s, at 6.6 percent, our growth in employment and labor force with a declining unemployment rate means one thing: fewer unemployed people heading into the New Year.


Posted by: Andrew Bowen @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Calling All Job Creators

Is your company expanding in Mecklenburg County? If so, let us know! We want to help every company large and small share their growth stories, which helps us track how well the local economy is doing.

We often get caught up in celebrating new companies that bring jobs to the county but miss out on identifying existing companies that choose to expand their current operations here.

The chamber’s quarterly “New and Expanded Report”  tracks all companies in the county that add jobs, take more office space or invest in capital improvement. We currently track as much as possible from sources including the news, county building permits and other announcements, but nothing is as good as word of mouth. If your company is just starting or undergoing expansion in Mecklenburg County, let us know using the short form at this link.

In order to qualify, certain conditions must be met:

  • Any jobs must be from growth, not the replacement of past employees.
  • Square footage counts if it is either new space or a larger lease than was previously occupied.
  • Investment comes in the form of space improvements, new buildings and machinery.




Posted by: Andrew Bowen @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Hitting the Million Mark

Andrew BowenHere’s news you don’t hear every day: One million people live in Mecklenburg County. Well, not yet, but soon – Thursday, Sept. 12, in fact (or somewhere around there).

Noting the consistent growth in Mecklenburg County, both the U.S. Census Bureau and the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management expect the 2014 population estimate to be more than 1 million people. I took it one step further to estimate when our population would hit the coveted seven-digit mark.

How does one figure that out? The Census Bureau updates county population estimates every July. The latest estimate, from

2012, puts Mecklenburg County’s population at 969,031. The 2013 estimates have not been released yet. However, using the average growth from the 2010 census to the 2012 estimate puts the July 2013 population estimate somewhere around 995,000 people. Converted to a daily growth rate, the number exceeds 1 million on or around Sept. 12, 2013.

We may very well have already surpassed 1 million residents or may not reach that point until later in the year. While the news of surpassing 1 million residents is not in itself terribly exciting, the growth from a population of 511,000 just 33 years ago is. While many other areas of the country struggle with consistent population losses or stagnant growth, the Charlotte area has thrived, boasting population growth of more than 2.5 percent annually; people are flocking to Charlotte from elsewhere seeking opportunities.

Will we ever reach 2 million residents? Maybe, but consider the fact that our population density would have to double from the current 1,900 people per square mile to 3,818 per square mile. That kind of density would have our landscape looking similar to present-day Milwaukee and Orange County, Calif. (Los Angeles suburbs) – both just slightly denser than the county that seats Detroit.

Charlotte’s growth is expected to keep pace with the last 30 years and doesn’t show signs of slowing in the near future. Homebuilding is increasing, and apartment complexes are hardly keeping up with demand. If my calculations are correct, expect the next milestone of 2 million residents sometime in the 2040s – but don’t hold me to it.

Posted by: Andrew Bowen @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (1)
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Charlotte: A Low Cost, High Opportunity City

Charlotte has always been known as a city with a low cost of living. Just how low? According to the Council for Community and Economic Research's (C2ER) most recent Cost of Living Index, Charlotte’s cost of living is only 95 percent of the national average. This puts Charlotte well below cities such as Denver, Seattle, San Francisco and Manhattan – Manhattan’s cost of living index is 218.8 percent of the national average.

What makes up this index? Organizations nationwide complete pricing surveys and send prices back to C2ER. Each quarter, the chamber's research team sets aside two days for phone calls to area businesses. We call doctor’s offices, fast food restaurants, bowling alleys and every company in between for their most current prices for standardized goods or services. We also visit grocery stores, with the help of other regional researchers, to price a set list of grocery items. Once pricing is complete, we send information back to C2ER, which then produces a national cost of living report.

With information like the cost of living index, we can make direct salary comparisons between Charlotte and more than 300 other urban areas across the nation. This helps the chamber’s economic development efforts and gives newcomers an idea of what they can expect in terms of how much it costs to live in Charlotte.

Look for our full cost of living comparison online in a few weeks. Until then, click here to see the comparison calculator.

Posted by: Andrew Bowen and Madeline Caryl @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Beating the Economic Census Blahs

Wondering what the future holds for your business? Curious about the emerging trends in your local economy? Both are important questions most reliably answered with data derived from the U.S. Census Bureau's Economic Census Survey. The survey, which serves as the U.S. Government's official five-year measure of American business and the economy, is currently underway. The problem is, many of the more than 4 million businesses that were mailed the document still haven't responded.

Believe me, I get it. Time is precious, and for most of us, filling out surveys of any kind isn't at the top of the priority list. But this questionnaire should be, and here's why: It is critically important to your very livelihood - seriously.

Still not buying it? Then consider this. The Charlotte Chamber's research department depends on much of the information collected to do the following:

*Aid in economic development.

*Analyze Mecklenburg and regional communities' growth.

*Assist businesses of all sizes in strategic planning.

*Benchmark for economic indicators.

*Provide statistics by industry and geography.

*Identify businesses by owner, sex, race, ethnicity and veteran status.

*Chart information on business locations and size.

*Determine the gross domestic product and producer price index, as well as retail sales and other key indicators.

And that's just a fraction of how we use the data to better serve you. So, what are you waiting for? Take the time to fill out the Economic Census today. It is completely confidential and matters much more than most business owners realize.


Take it online now at

Posted by: Natalie Dick @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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