Triangle is 4th fastest-growing economy

RALEIGH – If you get the impression that the Research Triangle region is growing at a remarkable rate, then you’re spot on – the triangle ranks fourth for fastest-growing region among the country’s 50 most populous sprawling metropolitan areas.

That’s according to a new report from the Kenan Institute, known as the American Growth Project, released Tuesday. The very first report ranks the triangle, dubbed the Raleigh and Durham area, as the fourth fastest growing area in the United States.

The region ranks particularly highly for its importance in the biotechnology and biomanufacturing sectors, according to a statement from the Kenan Institute shared with WRAL TechWire.

Even amid potential cuts or layoffs that could affect the sector in 2022 and 2022, more than $1 billion has been built in the triangle, the report highlights. And that’s just a starting point for employers hiring in the region, as Apple and more than 40 other employers are hiring for more than 4,000 job openings in the region as of Monday afternoon, according to the latest WRAL TechWire Jobs Report.

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The Kenan Institute report is the first report from the newly launched American Growth Project.

“Our home region of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is currently treated as two separate economic entities by the U.S. Census, although we know the cities actually operate as one economic entity,” the report said. “The US economy grew 2.9% in 2018 – during the same period Raleigh and Durham grew 5.3%.”

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And while employers continue to seek talented workers and the Triangle’s job market remains tight, with five vacancies to four unemployed, the region still has potential for growth due to immigration and other demographic shifts in the local economy, a new report from commercial real estate firm JLL, which was completed this month.

Triangular jobs continue to grow — but there’s a big problem: labor shortages

Triangle is experiencing growth, independent of the US economy

While the extended metropolitan areas (EMAs) can encompass vast geographic areas and population groups, the triangle ranks 35th in total population, and regional economic growth ranks fourth in the country at 3.4%, according to the analysis.

That follows:

  • San Francisco, which has the fifth highest population
  • Austin, Texas, with the 33rd highest population
  • Seattle with the 13th highest population
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Dallas, Texas placed fifth, while Denver, Colorado placed sixth and Salt Lake City, Utah placed seventh.

Charlotte ranked eighth nationally with a growth rate of 2.5% and a population that was the 23rd highest among the 50 EMAs analyzed.

Additionally, the triangle’s economy may not be vulnerable to an economic slowdown due to a changing job market, Kenan points out.

“[G]Given the strength of the labor market, we do not believe that the contraction in GDP in the first half of 2022 reflects a significant slowdown,” the report said.

The Triangle is a “biotech powerhouse” and home to “a bevy of tech companies among its top employers,” it says.


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