Thursday, August 17, 2017
44 Charlotte-area companies make 2017 Inc. 5,000 list

Forty-four of the nation’s fastest growing companies, ranging from consultancies to craft brewers, call the Charlotte area home, according to the 2017 INC 5000 released Wednesday.

While Charlotte software companies such as AvidXchange, PCI Group, Tresata and Imagine Software appeared on the list, it was a solar construction company Power Home Solar at the top in the Charlotte area. At No. 96 nationwide, Power Home Solar reported a whopping 3,943 percent revenue growth over the three-year period from 2014 through 2016. Other construction industry companies on the list included Spangler Restoration at No. 608, Southend Exteriors at 2,541, and 1st Choice Construction Management at 3,478.

Human resources, another industry helping Charlotte area businesses cope with regional growth, had five companies make the list, topped by Search Solutions Group at No. 955 and AccruePartners and No. 3,082. Consulting companies showed up strong with eight in the Charlotte area making the list. Torrent Consulting led that category at No. 261 after reporting 1,657 percent growth and $5.8M in revenue.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery found its way onto the list for the first time at No. 1,465, reporting 277 percent growth and $11.6 million in annual revenue. Also in the food category, Hissho Sushi, a southwest Charlotte food manufacturer, made the list for the ninth time reporting 141 percent growth and $122.1 million in annual revenue.

Among the newcomers to the list, South Park-based Quimbee, an online application helping law school students study, came in at No. 475 after reporting 937 percent growth and $2.4 million in revenue. 

Explore the Charlotte Chamber’s interactive dashboard and map for more information about these fast-growing companies.

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Monday, July 24, 2017
A Tale of Two Tech Markets: Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte

CBRE’s recent ranking of the Charlotte as the top metro for growth in tech talent comes as little surprise to us at the chamber. Growth in the technology sector has been a major component of Charlotte’s recovery from the recession. As the CBRE report notes, key technology occupations grew by more than 77 percent in the Charlotte metro area between 2011 and 2016. In raw numbers, that’s 21,690 new tech jobs.

What’s surprising? The Raleigh-Durham area added 1,000 fewer technology jobs than Charlotte during this time period.

To be fair, Raleigh-Durham’s tech talent pool is still quite a bit larger (around 60,000) than Charlotte’s (around 49,000), and tech accounts for a higher percentage of workforce (6.9 percent in Raleigh versus 4.3 percent in Charlotte), but the fact that Charlotte is catching up is news to be celebrated, and underscores how technological innovation is reshaping the business world and even the most highly regulated industries.

Financial technology, or FinTech, has become a new buzzword in Charlotte and with good reason. Homegrown startup success stories like AvidXchange and LendingTree, have given this growing industry cluster a lot of exposure lately (See more in our Financial Services white paper here).

A closer look at the workforce in the two markets shows more than double the concentration of FinTech talent in Charlotte, nearly 11 percent of the tech workforce versus 4.3 percent in Raleigh-Durham. In addition, headquarters tech talent is much stronger in Charlotte. While the two markets stack up similarly in traditional tech industries such as professional services and information, Raleigh-Durham has a larger technology manufacturing sector, growing out of the several research universities in the area.

The study also points to Charlotte’s “brain gain” in the tech sector. While area colleges and universities awarded nearly 5,000 tech degrees during the 2011-2016 time period that was only enough to fill less than 25 percent of the available tech jobs. The rest had to be recruited from elsewhere. While Charlotte benefits from this influx of talent, efforts are underway to improve the pipeline of homegrown tech talent.


Top five sectors for tech talent, Charlotte vs. Raleigh-Durham





Percentage of tech workforce

Percentage of tech workforce

Professional Services









Finance and Insurance






   Source: JobsEQ, Q1 2017

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, July 14, 2017
Fast Growing Companies in the Charlotte Region

INC Magazine ranks the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the country by 3-year self-reported revenue growth rates. In the Charlotte area, 44 companies cracked the INC 5,000 list in 2016. Check out our interactive dashboard for more information on each of these fast-growing companies. Look for the 2017 list some time in August. 

Posted by: Riley Jones - UNC Charlotte Levine Scholar and Charlotte Chamber Summer Data Volunteer @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, July 6, 2017
The "Missing Middle" in N.C. and Charlotte's Growth Story

A couple of articles about the North Carolina economy caught my eye this week. First, the good news: Charlotte's job growth in 2016 - 3.7 percent - tied with Salt Lake City as the No. 4 fastest growing job market. However, another study from North Carolina State University economist Michael Walden found "middle-class" jobs - those paying between $45,000 and $69,000 - had declined in North Carolina between 2001 and 2015, while both low and higher-wage jobs in the state had increased at rates greater than the national average. 

Concern about middle wage jobs and the "hollowing out" of the American economy is nothing new. As this 2016 report from the Pew Research Center notes, the share of Americans living in middle income households has declined since the 1970s.  Walden's study points to North Carolina being particularly hard hit because of historical reliance on middle-wage jobs in textile and furniture manufacturing, which have seen declines due to automation and offshoring. A few months after the release of research from Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Economic Mobility Taskforce, aimed at improving residents' chances of moving up the economic ladder, it seems like a good time to take stock of the wage distribution among jobs in the Charlotte area.  

Data from JobsEQ for the first quarter of 2017 lends some support to Walden's conclusions, though it uses slightly different wage categories. While nearly 21 percent of all jobs nationwide pay between $50,000 and $74,999, only about 16 percent of jobs in the Charlotte metropolitan area pay in that range.

Higher- and lower-paying job distributions vary by geography, with urban areas accounting for the lion's share of higher-paying jobs. In Mecklenburg County, 21.5 percent of jobs pay greater than $75,000. That's more than the national rate of 15.1 percent. In North Carolina as a whole, however, only 11.8 percent of all jobs pay more than $75,000.  At the highest end, 6.5 percent of all Meckleburg County jobs pay more than $125,000, compared to 3.8 percent in North Carolina as a whole and 2.7 percent nationwide. 

In terms of lower-paying jobs, 61.1 percent of jobs in Mecklenburg County pay less than $50,000, that's fewer than the national rate of 64 percent. However, when looking at the Charlotte MSA as a whole, 67.4 percent of jobs are sub-$50,000. In North Carolina as a whole, more than 70 percent of jobs pay less than $50,000 a year.

The dashboard below gives further detail on wage distributions for Mecklenburg, the Charlotte metropolitan statistical area, North Carolina and the United States.   

Posted by: Chuck McShane - Director of Business Analytics and Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Starting a Business? New Ranking Says N.C. is the Place for You

More good news out this week for North Carolina. An interesting new ranking from FitSmallBusiness rates our state as "the best state to start a business."

The ranking was based on a combination of tax rates, quality of life, cost of living, labor market outlook, startup activity, access to capital and the costs of starting a business. North Carolina didn't get the top rating in any of the seven separate categories, but our state hit the sweet spot with consistent high rankings on the three major categories that made up 55 percent of the total. Those include:

  • Lower corporate and personal income taxes (3 percent and 5.5 percent respectively);
  • A talented labor market  (three urban counties - Durham, Mecklenburg and Wake - with greater than 40 percent bachelor-degree attainment); and
  • Low cost of living (94.5 percent of the national average).*

Other factors like quality of life and startup activity helped, too. For example, the most recent Kauffman Foundation rankings ranked North Carolina No. 9 in Startup Activity, with the Charlotte metro area moving up to No. 17 from No. 20 among the largest 50 metros in the United States.

A lot of these factors work together to create a quality business environment. Quality of living and cost of living help attract and retain a talented labor market, for example. That’s something we’ve definitely seen in Charlotte and other urban areas in the state. Of the 242,283 people who moved to North Carolina on net between 2015 and 2016, 90 percent moved to either the Charlotte, Raleigh or Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan areas.

*Side note: This ranking's source for Cost of Living data was based on C2ER's quarterly Cost of Living Index. The Charlotte Chamber contributes to C2ER's study each quarter by collecting and analyzing local housing, grocery, utility, health care, transportation and other pricing data. For more details on Charlotte pricing, check out our Cost of Living whitepaper.


Posted by: Chuck McShane - Director of Business Analytics and Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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