In contrast to Gov. Perdue’s repeated touting of North Carolina’s stellar business climate, a new report is out showing that North Carolina ranked a disappointing 37th in job growth over the past year.
North Carolina has added a net of 4,400 jobs during the past year, ranking the Tar Heel State No. 37 among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in employment growth.
The seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show North Carolina trailing most of its neighboring states in job gains. South Carolina ranks No. 21, with an increase of 17,300 jobs between July 2010 and July 2011. Tennessee is No. 24, gaining 12,800 jobs. And Virginia ranks No. 28, with an increase of 8,300 jobs.
These results are pretty consistent with previous evaluations on economic performance I conducted, finding NC job growth trailing the regional average from 2001-2008.
So why the disconnect between the cherry-picked business climate ranking and the actual results? I addressed the major flaws in the rankings touted by the Governor’s office a few years ago in this article. The Governor’s office celebrates the ranking of Site Selection magazine, but that mostly just measures the amount of corporate welfare programs available and how readily state politicians are willing to dispense political privileges to connected corporations. There is little connection with actual job and economic growth.
The continuous sub-par performance of North Carolina’s economy is more closely aligned with other business climate rankings, such as the Tax Foundation (ranking NC between 39 and 41 the last five years) and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (ranking NC 38th).