Economic development investments create new jobs in Charlotte area

September 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

A Washington Post article highlights a few Charlotte-area development projects as it explores the questions of what constitutes economic development, and what are the best strategies for job creation. Against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention– and on the heels of last week’s Republican National Convention– these questions are at the forefront of the dialogue of the nation’s future, and the results of real life projects provide instructive examples of what works and what doesn’t.

The article points to Siemens AG, the electronics company, that chose to locate its hub for making gas turbines just outside of Charlotte. When asked about why they chose to locate in the area, executives from Siemens pointed to infrastructure (state-funded rail and the airport), financing secured by the Export-Import Bank (a federal agency), and the quality of the workforce. As stated by Eric Spiegel, CEO of the company’s U.S. subsidiary:

“The reasons you bring a plant like this to the United States are higher-skilled labor, access to the world’s best research and development, and good, sound infrastructure. All those things together make the U.S. a good place to invest.”

Although industries such as manufacturing have nowhere near the number of jobs that they had in past decades, bringing back some of these jobs from overseas seems more viable now as labor costs are rising in other countries. Investments in infrastructure and in workers, and furthering public-private partnerships in areas such as foreign trade missions or in financing, are key to making the U.S. attractive to businesses.

This is particularly important given yesterday’s blog post on the growth of low wage jobs– and resultant income inequality– in both the nation and the state. The role of state investments as catalysts for economic growth should not be dismissed outright. As businesses pull back from making their own investments in a context of economic uncertainty, the role of state, local, and federal governments can be instrumental in providing the spark to get local economies going. According to the Washington Post article, for the CEO of Seimans, “…job creation is not as complicated as rocket science but it does require a public commitment.”

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Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy, Jobs & Employment. Tags: , , .

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