Raleigh and Durham rank 4th in fastest-growing cities for 2022, American Growth Project finds

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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Raleigh and Durham rank fourth for the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. for 2022, according to the American Growth Project.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh and Durham rank fourth for the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. for 2022, according to the Kenan Institute's report known as the American Growth Project.

The report released Tuesday said the Research Triangle has long been a "powerhouse," for biotech, even amid possible cuts in the industry nationwide.

For Jason Price, a Durham resident with a tech job, it feels pretty good to live in a city that's ranked alongside other cities known for growth and high tech, such as San Francisco and Seattle.

"It's grown a lot," Price said. "I actually work for a company called Flex Gym, that's like a start up in the energy sector that should be a big deal one day. The last time I lived here, there was nothing like it."

Chief economist Gerald Cohen attributed the major takeaway to the growth in employment, with companies moving into and hiring from the area, which also impacts the demand for other services.

"These are very highly productive, highly paid jobs," Cohen said. "And that creates growth in itself and then, again, has spillover effects from people getting well paid, going out to restaurants, enjoying the amenities of the area," Cohen said.

Recent news of layoffs and decreased profit margins indicate a tech slowdown nationwide, which could hold negative implications for many of the tech-heavy regions that topped the list, according to the Kenan Institute.

But NC TECH, an organization that focuses on the tech sector, echoed the growth in September openings, which recorded more than 37,000 IT job postings.

"The temp jobs report reflects the number of openings that employers have," president and CEO Brooks Raiford said. "And of course, technology is an interesting sector, because it's not limited just to technology companies. Every organization needs tech talent."

Raiford said that includes not only tech companies, but most often banks, or insurance companies, for example.

"The Triangle region in North Carolina really sort of has the secret sauce to sustain our strength and all these rankings," Raiford said. "We have the right mix of existing talent. We have a great pipeline of higher education institutions ... and other kinds of drivers of talent development. We also are a magnet for existing tech talent who come from other areas of the country. So we put those three things together in an area that has a moderate cost of living, good climate, well positioned geographically, it's really hard to beat the mix that we have."

However, keeping up with top rankings comes with its challenges.

"The challenge is that it also means people are moving here," Cohen said. "Cost of living is rising, that creates a set of challenges and how to manage the growth."