Charlotte-Mecklenburg New and Expanded Business
The outlook for Charlotte’s economy continues to shine; unemployment has dropped by 1.5 percent from this time last year to 5.3 percent, while the number of unemployed has decreased by 5,600. In February, we saw a 4.9 percent increase in job postings. This activity is putting upward pressure on wage growth, with median wages increasing from $18.29 to $18.74 over the past year. Gas prices in Charlotte have remained low at $2.26 per gallon compared to $2.32 a month ago, and much lower than $3.53 we were paying the previous 12 months. Lower gas prices tend to lead to greater consumer spending and confidence.
Looking forward to the rest of the year, analysts at Economic Modeling Specialists International predict professional, scientific and technical services to be the fastest growing industry, adding 1,303 jobs for a total of 44,029 in the sector by the end of 2015. The second highest growth will be found in health care services, growing by 5 percent and adding 1,133 jobs for a total of 24,748. And, hospitality is predicted to continue to be a bright spot in 2015 with food and beverage businesses growing by 2 percent, adding 1,110 jobs for a total of 46,631 by year-end.
While our new and expanded report is showing a somewhat sluggish first quarter, the county is still reporting solid growth with 1,209 new jobs. Of the reported new and expanded employment during the first quarter, professional and technical services captures 41 percent,. accommodation and food service captures 14 percent, and finance and insurance rounds out the top three with 13 percent. Existing business added the lion’s share of the reported growth, accounting for 72 percent of new jobs.
Highlights for this quarter include: Truliant Federal Credit Union adding 10 new branches and creating more than 120 jobs with an initial investment of $11 million; Frito-Lay, Inc. investing in its southwest Charlotte location, transforming a 38-year-old facility into a mega facility and creating 35 new jobs; and Charlotte continuing to foster its robust energy cluster with Bluesphere Corporation breaking ground on a new U.S headquarters and waste-to-energy plant.
This quarterly report is available at the Charlotte Chamber for $10 per copy. For further information please call 704.378.1300.
First Quarter 2015 Summary of New and Expanded Business
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