Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper announced 14,114 new jobs in North Carolina in 2023, representing 134 business recruitment, expansion, or rural development projects that engaged with the N.C. Department of Commerce or its team at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

These projects will bring $12.9 billion of capital investment into the state, led by companies engaged in clean energy industries that are transforming the state’s economy.

“North Carolina has seen historic economic growth and development in the last few years including our rural areas thanks to our great workforce and major investments from companies across the globe,” Cooper said. “North Carolina continues to be the best place to locate and grow a business and we’ll keep working to bring good-paying jobs to every corner of our state.”

In July, for the second year in a row, CNBC named North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business. The 2023 performance adds to the record-breaking momentum of the last three years, with more than 67,000 jobs and $42.3 billion of capital investment announced since 2020. The fast-growing clean energy economy represents a significant part of the state’s recent economic development track record, with major projects from Toyota, Vinfast, Wolfspeed, Energizer, Kempower, and Epsilon Advanced Materials.

Clean energy industries include those engaged in energy efficiency or producing products that reduce or eliminate harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The electric vehicle supply chain in particular is experiencing rapid market growth. Since Cooper took office in 2017, the state has announced more than 17,500 clean energy sector jobs, representing projects bringing more than $22.1 billion of capital investment to North Carolina.

Top projects for 2023, as ranked by job creation totals, include:

♦ Toyota’s decision to expand its job creation and investment targets for its Randolph County electric vehicle battery manufacturing factory. The company will create an additional 3,000 jobs and invest an additional $8 billion in the project, bringing its totals to 5,100 new jobs with a capital investment of $13.9 billion.

♦ Kempower’s decision to locate a manufacturing facility in Durham County to build charging stations for electric vehicles, investing $41 million and creating 601 jobs;

♦ Epsilon Advanced Materials’ choice of Brunswick County for its first manufacturing site in the United States to produce synthetic graphite for use in batteries, creating 500 jobs with a $649.9 million investment;

♦ Siemens Mobility’s selection of Davidson County for its East Coast facility to manufacture passenger rail cars, creating 500 jobs with a $220 million investment.

“North Carolina once again sets the pace for excellence,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Our success comes in no small part from the hard work of many local, regional, and state leaders, Chris Chung and his team at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and economic developers across the state. With our relentless focus on building and maintaining the nation’s top workforce, I know our state will continue to provide a brighter future for all North Carolinians.”

A majority of the year’s economic development projects located or expanded in the state’s more rural or economically distressed areas, with 78 percent of projects choosing either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county, as delineated by North Carolina’s economic development tier system.