State Spotlight: North Carolina Published January 16, 2017 | By Achim Neumann, President Located in the American Southeast, North Carolina has in recent years developed a reputation for being a great place to start a business. With a number of business-friendly regulations and policies in place, it is easy to see why many entrepreneurs are enthused about living and working in this southern state. Their excitement isn’t limited to business fundamentals, as North Carolina’s outstanding quality of life is as much of a draw as its tax policies, as its mountains, beaches, and affordable real estate are just a few motivators that have led business owners to set up shop here. With a diverse economy that employs people in sectors ranging from R&D to furniture manufacturing, the possibilities for ambitious entrepreneurs are virtually endless. Why is North Carolina a good place to buy a business? While North Carolina’s business fundamentals are strong, some hesitate to move there due to value conflicts (certain parts of this state can be very conservative) with the social policies of its state government and with certain vocal segments of its population. While considering whether to buy a business in a state based on political beliefs is a highly personal matter, objectively, North Carolina remains an exceptionally friendly place for business owners. Here’s why we believe this is the case: 1) Labor costs are very low With payroll costs that are 11% below the national average, labor costs in North Carolina are among the lowest in the United States. This is partially possible due to the fact that North Carolina has the second smallest union workforce in the country, with only 3% of the state’s working-age population possessing membership cards. Combine that with a surplus of educated labor that graduates from the state’s vaunted universities and colleges every year, and you have the perfect recipe for affordable wages. 2) Corporate taxes are extremely competitive Business owners in North Carolina also get to keep more of their profits than entrepreneurs in most other states around the country. With a corporate tax rate of 4%, North Carolina has the best tax policy in the southeast, and they have the third-lowest state and local tax burden in America. With less money being taken off the table by the government, business owners are able to plow more money back into their business. This allows them to hire additional workers when they are needed, update equipment to improve their competitive edge, and offer higher salaries to retain A-list talent. 3) In-migration numbers have been strong for decades Ever since the government in North Carolina began to take measures to improve the state’s business climate, they have been rewarded with a number of corporate relocations to cities within the state. With thousands of jobs having moved to Raleigh, Charlotte, and the Research Triangle over the past couple of decades, throngs of eager job seekers have followed in their wake. Additionally, Baby Boomers and other migrants looking to live in a gentler climate have also made North Carolina their home. This trend has been in progress for a while, doubling this state’s population since 1970. Healthy population growth makes it easier for entrepreneurs to achieve profit growth year-over-year; as such, those that sell to consumers will want to strongly consider purchasing a business in North Carolina, should the right opportunity present itself. Conclusion Over the past couple of decades, North Carolina has been shown to have some of the strongest economic fundamentals of any state in the region. While there are cultural aspects to life there some may find difficult to accept, those that can work past these issues will benefit from North Carolina’s perpetually-growing population, and business-first policies that continue to be passed by governments at the state and local level.