NC Commerce: North Carolina Takes Home the Gold Shovel for Economic Development Success

Date Published:

Date: 6/8/2018

Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina has received Area Development magazine’s 2018 Gold Shovel Award, recognizing the state’s success in winning high-impact economic development projects last year. In 2017, North Carolina experienced one of its best years for new job recruitment in over a decade.

The state is one of only five receiving a 2018 Gold Shovel Award. Area Development magazine, which covers site selection and facility planning, considers a state’s top 10 job creation and investment projects when granting the award.

While North Carolina frequently appears among the top five states in respected business rankings, this is the first time the state has taken home the gold from Area Development, which launched its annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards in 2006.

“We’re honored by this latest recognition of our state’s continued success in attracting new business,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland. “And the fact this Gold Shovel is a first for the state, which has received eight Silver Shovels, is further proof we’re building on North Carolina’s already strong momentum.”

The Shovel Awards recognize state economic development agencies that drive significant job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, processes and promotions that attract new employers and investment in new or expanded corporate facilities. In 2017, N.C. Commerce, working with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), and other partners, helped close deals on 150 projects expected to create more than 20,000 new jobs and $4.14 billion in new investment.

The Shovel Awards also recognize large job-creating Projects of the Year. In North Carolina, those projects were:

  • Allstate’s plan to expand its operations center in Charlotte, adding 2,250 new jobs to the roughly 1,400 existing ones.
  • Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse’s announcement of a 1,200-job expansion of its financial services operations in Research Triangle Park.
  • India-based technology consultant Infosys’ choice to establish its 2,000-job technology and innovation hub in Raleigh.

North Carolina’s 2017 list of top projects attests to its diverse manufacturing scene, an Area Development spokesperson said. The magazine highlighted China-based Triangle Tyre Co.’s plan for a $580 million tire manufacturing facility that will create 800 jobs in Edgecombe County. It also mentions positive headlines in pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical packaging as well as wood and paper products.

Area Development’s 2018 Gold Shovel goes to the leading states in five population categories, considering their top 10 projects undertaken in 2017. Awards are based on the number of high-value jobs created per capita, amount of investment and industry diversity. North Carolina won in the 8-to-12 million population category. Area Development invited all 50 states to submit their top 10 job-creation and investment projects in 2017. In addition to the top five Gold Shovel states, 17 runner-up states in the five population categories received Silver Shovels.

Read Area Development’s full coverage of its 2018 Shovel Awards at

Press release from NC Department of Commerce.