Business North Carolina, a statewide magazine that explores business development and issues, held an 2015 Economic Forecast at Campbell Law School in Raleigh on Monday, Dec. 15th. The panel explored North Carolina's economic successes over 2014 and what might occur in 2015. Questions like where will the growth come from were discussed at length by all panelists.
Here are some excerpts from those in attendance.
Joan Siefert Rose, president, Council for Entrepreneurial Development
- 13 companies did IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) this year. That is amazing growth for private businesses that began as small start ups. 2015 looks good for entrepreneurs, as long as we increase regional marketing for North Carolina. We are competing with places like Austin, TX, Nashville, TN, and Atlanta, GA.
Richard Reich, assistant commissioner, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
- North Carolina has a robust Agriculture industry. Ag is the #1 industry in North Carolina with $79 billion in economic activity. It is a large, diverse and growing sector.
Tony Smith, president-elect, NC Association of Realtors
- The state of the housing market in North Carolina is stable. We anticipate an increase in activity in the coming months.
Jon Lassiter, vice president, NC Economic Development Partnership
- The new Economic Development Partnership is focusing on NC-made products to draw investors in the state. We, as a state, have so much to offer and we must market our strengths-weather, cost of living, quality of life, and our university system.
Scott Saylor, president, North Carolina Railroad Company
- Transportation reform will aide economic development going forward by connecting robust economic centers with residential areas. Another thing to keep in mind is that rail carries a large portion of our manufacturing and agricultural economy-thus facilitating a large transfer of goods and services across NC.
Robert Seligson, Executive Vice-President & CEO, NC Medical Society
- Our Health Care industry does $29 billion in economic activity. In fact, our community practitioner program has provided over $250 million in free care to underserved areas in North Carolina.
Mark Steckbeck, Assistant Professor of Economics, Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, Campbell University
- Real GDP and Real per capita GDP are on the rise in NC. The Labor Market is also growing in most major metro areas with the exception of Fayetteville.
David Lewis, representative, NC House of Representatives
- We know that Tax Reform has put more money in the pockets of North Carolinians. North Carolina once had some of the highest personal income tax rates and corporate income tax rates in the Southeast. We fixed that. Going forward, we wanted North Carolina to be able to compete directly with neighboring states-though we recognize North Carolina could readily compete with other states by boasting its high standard of living and reduced cost of living. Its also important to realize that our revenue projections are less than a percentage point behind where we thought they would be. We also, because of prudent budgeting lowered the burden of government that each tax paying citizen is accountable for; because of that, revenue should be lower than it was last year. We must also remember that we inherited a deficit that encompassed the equivalent of 10% of the North Carolina budget. On top of that, Medicaid mismanagement contributed to several hundred millions of dollars in state deficit.
- All that to say, we are encouraged by the businesses looking to relocate and fully believe that 2015 will be a great year for economic development.