MetLife news good for NC economy

March 8, 2013 

Over 2,600 jobs is good news anywhere, anytime, and Thursday morning it was delivered to North Carolina, Charlotte and Cary with the disclosure that the insurance company MetLife is adding 2,600 jobs, averaging over $80,000 a year, to Charlotte and Cary. The Queen City will be a hub for retail operations, with the Cary office focused on technology. Charlotte’s obviously already a business hub, and there’s no shortage of technology expertise in Cary and the Research Triangle.

For MetLife, though the salaries here will be good ones, the decision’s a smart one because overall operating costs are lower in this region of the country than in the traditional hub of the northeast. And an incentives package of $90 million, largest in the state’s history, doesn’t hurt, either.

There is always a question about the value of incentives versus the payoff, but this is a time when jobs are badly needed and these are good jobs with long-term prospects. And part of the incentive package is keyed to delivery of those jobs.

With a 9.2 percent unemployment rate (the national average is 7.9 percent), North Carolina needs more of this kind of news, particularly in more rural areas and in the eastern part of the state, where unemployment in a number of counties is in double digits. It’s true that high-tech companies like more urban areas because of work force that is already educated and trained, so it is more difficult to recruit for the eastern and western parts of the state. But it’s an area the administration of Gov. Pat McCrory should keep uppermost in mind.

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