North Carolina and South Carolina continue to grow solidly. Real GDP growth in the Carolinas grew 2.5 percent in 2015, slightly outpacing the national average (Figure 1). Strong economic growth has encouraged a wave of in-migration, much of which has settled in the Carolinas’ largest metropolitan areas. Charlotte, Raleigh, Greenville, S.C., and Charleston consistently rank among the fastest growing economies in the country and have also been at the top of many popular rankings of best places to live, do business and visit. The burst of economic activity has fueled a development boom, with a surge of new apartment, office, industrial, and retail projects underway throughout the region. Hotel construction is also booming, and single-family homebuilding has finally revived in a meaningful way, particularly in Charlotte and Raleigh, which rank as the nation’s 8th and 15th largest markets, respectively, for single-family housing permits during the first six months of 2016 (Figure 2). Economic growth in the Carolinas is being driven by a combination of recent and long-running trends. Location continues to be a key advantage, with the Carolinas located in the center of the rapidly growing Southeast, which is the fourth-largest economy in the world and home to 82.2 million people. Some of the strongest growth is taking place along the I-85 corridor, the heart of which runs through the Carolinas from Durham down to Greenville, S.C. Growth is also booming along the coast, particularly in the greater Charleston area. North Carolina and South Carolina have consistently ranked among the top states for new and expanding businesses, landing facilities from marquee firms such as BMW, Boeing, Volvo, GE, Sealed Air, and Merck. The influx has further diversified the region’s economic base and pulled in suppliers, related businesses and new residents. Not only have relocations and expansions picked up, but existing industry has also regained its footing, which is good news for the region’s industrial sector.
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Source: U.S. Department of Commerce and Wells Fargo Securities