Local Politics

Methodology: Do jobs promises pay off?

Read more about how WRAL News tracks information about incentive programs in the state.

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WRAL's investigation into how incentive programs have performed, including the Job Promise Explorer, analyzed the 540 incentive grants announced for companies during the administrations of Govs. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, and Pat McCrory, a Republican.
Incentives issued through the state's Job Development Investment Grant and One North Carolina Fund take years to fully pay out as companies ramp up production, build new facilities or relocate, making announcements from Perdue and McCrory from 2009 to 2016 an ideal period to evaluate in late 2019.

The commerce data, part of a report released to members of the General Assembly annually on Oct. 1, includes details on how many jobs a company has created and how much of a grant the state has paid out, among other information.

Press releases from Perdue and McCrory provide data on the 494 job announcements their offices made during their tenure related to JDIG and One North Carolina grants. Some announcements included multiple grants for a single job project.

After matching the two data sources using database software, reporters could then evaluate 540 grants for 494 unique projects based on their progress toward meeting the promises made by Perdue and McCrory's offices.

Three metrics, in context

Grant period elapsed is the number of days between the date the grant was initially awarded and the most recent commerce performance reporting date. For JDIG projects, the reporting date is Dec. 31, 2017. For One North Carolina grants, the reporting date is Dec. 31, 2018. For One North Carolina grants, the number is calculated as a percentage of the grant term, which can range from three to eight years.

JDIG projects have a longer cycle, primarily so commerce officials can monitor continued performance. For these projects, the number is calculated as a percentage of the ramp-up period, called the "base term," which can range from two to five years.

Grants officially closed, terminated or withdrawn are calculated to have reached 100 percent of their elapsed grant period.

Cumulative grant periods for the state with multiple projects are calculated as the total number of elapsed days as a percentage of the total number of days in all corresponding grant terms.

Jobs created is the number of actual jobs a company creates and reports to the commerce department. It's represented as the percentage of total jobs announced in the governors' press releases. For JDIG projects, the most recent job creation data is current as of Dec. 31, 2017. For One North Carolina grants, the most recent job creation data is current as of Dec. 31, 2018.

In cases where a company received both a JDIG and One North Carolina grant for a single project, the number of jobs announced and created are only counted once. Which job creation figure is counted depends on which grants are still actively reporting to the commerce department.

Money awarded is the amount the state has actually paid out as of June 30, 2019, the most recent data available from the commerce department. When the state awards a JDIG to a company in one of the state's most prosperous counties, a percentage of the total award will go to a state fund for rural infrastructure. In these cases, "money awarded" is taken as a percentage of the maximum award available to the company only.

These figures have not been adjusted for inflation.

Since the individual grants are all at different stages, viewing all three of these calculations together allows viewers to see for themselves a project's progress toward official projections. Using WRAL's Job Promise Explorer, those metrics are available for the entire state, by county or company.
Publishing this data gives readers the power to interact with, download and explore the grant awards on their own. It also allows us to show our work by sharing the information we used to summarize the data.

Data is current as of the commerce department report released Oct. 1, 2019. This data and the corresponding application will be updated regularly.

Questions? Spot an error? Email reporter Tyler Dukes.


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