Charlotte-Mecklenburg New and Expanded Business

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First Quarter 2017 Charlotte-Mecklenburg New & Expanded Businesses

Mecklenburg County businesses started 2017 on solid footing with the strongest first-quarter employment numbers in four years. During the first three months of 2017, 328 businesses added 4,558 jobs, added or improved 1.3 million square feet of real estate and made $270 million in capital investments.

That’s a 70 percent increase in employment growth compared to the first quarter of 2016 when Mecklenburg County companies tracked by this report added 2,675 jobs.

However, additions or improvements to commercial real estate, as well as capital investments, slowed down compared to the first quarter of 2016. Businesses added or improved 1.3 million square feet of commercial real estate and made $270 million in capital investments. That’s down significantly from a year prior when businesses added or improved 3.3 million square feet and invested $415 million. Notable announcements included relocations and expansions in some of the county’s key target industries. Swiss manufacturer Oerlikon Metco announced plans to hire 93 and invest $62 million in an additive manufacturing plant and research and development center in Huntersville. Plastic fabrication company Genpak will add 150 jobs and invest $15.8 million in a combined headquarters and production facility. Southeastern Metal Products also added 70 jobs.

In health care, Prinston Pharmaceuticals announced a 127-job expansion and French medical device company Selenium announced plans to open a facility in Charlotte. Verizon Wireless announced it would open a 300-person call center. The average home price in Mecklenburg County hit a record high of $307,412 and 4,800 residential permits were issued in the county. Banking that strong home sales will mean a busy spring, home improvement retailers added several seasonal jobs. Lowe’s added 1,700 workers in Mecklenburg County as part of a broader national hiring push. Home Depot hired 450 seasonal workers.

Broader economic trends were mixed as well. The national economy showed some signs of weakness, with Gross Domestic Product growing only 0.7 percent, the lowest first quarter GDP since 2014. Still, national unemployment fell to 4.5 percent in March. Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate ended the quarter slightly lower at 4.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted).


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