Charlotte-Mecklenburg New and Expanded Business
By any measure, Charlotte’s economy showed strong growth in the first half of 2015. Home sales are up 15.8 percent and building permits up 13 percent compared to the first six months of 2014. In April, the unemployment rate in Mecklenburg County fell to 4.9 percent, the lowest since 2007. Unemployment rose again in May to 5.5 percent, but even that increase had a silver lining. As hiring picked up, more discouraged workers who had dropped out of the labor force and not been counted in unemployment rate calculations, began looking for work again.
More people working meant more money to spend and retail sales rose 8.3 percent to $7.6 billion in the first half of 2015. The finance and insurance sector, a staple of the Charlotte economy, added 600 workers in the second quarter, including 200 at Wells Fargo. Employers in the transportation and warehousing sector added another 317, including 177 at American Airlines.
Another sign of a brightening economic outlook, Charlotte companies increased their investment, pouring $416 million into machines, equipment, inventory and buildings during the first half of 2015, a 15 percent increase from the same period last year.
And, major economic development announcements indicate that Charlotte remains an attractive destination for international companies. Eight European firms announced plans to locate or expand operations in Charlotte during the second quarter. Among those companies, rail infrastructure and technology firm Vossloh AG will move its executive team and add 30 jobs by the end of 2016 at its new Coliseum Center branch office. Camber Ridge LLC announced plans to locate a new $60 million tire testing facility in the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport area. Also in the airport area, Associate Staffing will create 40 new jobs over the next three years in an expanded office.
Second Quarter 2015 Summary of New and Expanded Business
The 2,133 newly created jobs will add an estimated $166.2 million in annual income and benefits for their employees. Spending by these companies and their employees will support an additional 1,485 jobs and $92.9 million in annual compensation. In total, these expansions and additions will have a $507 million impact on the Mecklenburg County economy.
This quarterly report is available at the Charlotte Chamber for $10 per copy. For further information please call 704.378.1300.