RALEIGH – If you are under the impression the Research Triangle region is growing at a remarkable rate then you are spot on -the Triangle ranks fourth for the fastest-growing local among the nation’s top 50 most populous extended metropolitan areas.
That’s according to a new report from the Kenan Institute known as the American Growth Project, released on Tuesday. The first-ever report ranks the Triangle, designated as the Raleigh and Durham area, as the fourth fastest-growing area of the United States.
The region ranks particularly high due to its importance in the biotechnology and biomanufacturing sectors, according to a statement from the Kenan Institute shared with WRAL TechWire.
Even amidst possible cuts or layoffs that could impact the sector in 2022 and 2022, there have been more than $1 billion of construction in the Triangle, the report highlights. And that’s just a starting place for employers that are hiring in the region, with Apple and more than 40 other employers hiring for more than 4,000 job openings in the region as of Monday afternoon, according to the latest WRAL TechWire Jobs Report.
The report from the Kenan Institute is the first report coming from the newly launched American Growth Project.
“Our home region of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is currently considered two separate economic entities by the US Census, though we know that in actuality, the cities operate as one economic entity,” the report notes. “The US economy grew 2.9% in 2018 – during that same period, Raleigh and Durham expanded 5.3%.”
And while employers continue to seek talented workers and the Triangle labor market remains tight, with five open jobs for every four unemployed workers, the region may still be able to grow due to in-migration and other demographic changes in the local economy, a new report from commercial real estate firm JLL concluded this month.
Triangle jobs keep growing – but there’s a big problem: Lack of workers
Triangle experiencing growth, no matter the US economy
While the extended metropolitan areas (EMAs) can encompass huge geographic areas and populations, the Triangle ranks 35th for total population, the growth of the regional economy is fourth in the country at 3.4%, according to the analysis.
- San Francisco, which has the fifth highest population
- Austin, Texas, with the 33rd highest population
- Seattle with the 13th highest population
Dallas, Texas, ranked fifth, while Denver, Colorado ranked sixth and Salt Lake City, Utah, ranked seventh.
Charlotte ranked eighth in the nation with a growth rate of 2.5% and a population that was the 23rd highest among the 50 EMAs analyzed.
Further, the Triangle’s economy may not be prone to an economic slowdown due to a changing labor market, Kenan points out.
“[G]iven the strength in the labor market, we do not believe the decline in GDP during the first half of 2022 reflects a meaningful slowdown,” the report says.
The Triangle is a “powerhouse for biotech” while also hosting “a bevy of tech companies among its top employers,” it notes.