Greater Charlotte in the global economy: Benchmarking the region’s global competitiveness assets

This benchmarking study, developed by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, provides the Greater Charlotte region with a framework and data to better understand its performance and position in the global economy, offering information and insights to help leaders more actively shape the region’s economic strategy.

Through comparative benchmarking against 19 other global city-regions, this analysis finds that Greater Charlotte’s overall economic growth has been robust over the past decade and that its economy is very globally engaged. Exports and foreign direct investment account for a larger share of its economy than any other U.S. peer metro area, led by tradable anchors like machinery, transportation equipment, and financial services. But this same comparative lens reveals a region at risk of losing ground to peer metropolitan economies unless it shores up its competitive drivers, especially given its reliance on sectors that must compete globally. 

While it houses key advanced industries, the region must build up its relatively low innovation capacity and expand entrepreneurship. It must help employers overcome their challenges in filling job vacancies, especially occupations that require STEM skills. And it must address lagging broadband internet connectivity and bridge income disparities in broadband access. In addressing these areas and others, Greater Charlotte’s should continue to work through regional networks of public, private, and civic leaders to design, deliver, and execute its global economic strategy.