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Work force, coastline propel N.C. in Forbes survey

Posted August 1, 2008
Updated August 2, 2008

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— The state’s warm coastline and growing work force development contributed to its Forbes magazine ranking as one of the top places to do business, officials said Friday.

The state ranked fourth in the third annual “Best States for Business” survey by the magazine.

“We’re naturally blessed. We have a central East Coast location, which makes us proximate to two-thirds of markets in the country. We have a great infrastructure…good road system,” state Secretary of Commerce Jim Fain said.

The magazine rated states in six categories: cost of doing business, labor force, regulatory environment, economy, growth prospects and quality of life.

“I think the thing that sets us apart is that we have invested consistently in education and work force development,” Fain said.

The state’s trained and educated work force helped lure Spirit Aerosystems, a manufacturer and supplier of commercial aircraft components, to Global Transpark. The company will create 1,037 jobs and invest more than $570 million in an airliner parts manufacturing plant.

“We have been repositioning our economy from what was more of a labor intensive manufacturing economy into one that’s really driven by know how,” Fain said.

Fain said the strategy has helped the state better deal with economic issues created by a sluggish housing market and high gas prices.

Fain said the state is ahead of last year in terms of investments and new jobs recruited.

The growth has caused problems, though, like traffic and congestion.

“As I always tell people, you want to have the challenges of growth and not the challenges of decline,” Fain said.

North Carolina was also voted the state with the best business climate by Site Selection magazine, six of the last seven years.


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