North Carolina

Dashboard 2030

Tracking North Carolina’s progress in economic
development, business climate and job growth

About Dashboard 2030

Dashboard 2030 informs dialogue and catalyzes action to address North Carolina’s economic development challenges and opportunities. It provides independent and objective data on leading indicators of state and business competitiveness. It was created by RTI International and funded by the North Carolina Chamber Foundation, to track progress toward North Carolina Vision 2030 - A Plan for Accelerating Job Growth and Securing North Carolina’s Future.

About the North Carolina Chamber Foundation

The North Carolina Chamber Foundation is a nonpartisan, long-term policy center that focuses on solutions to North Carolina’s most pressing economic challenges in the coming decades.

About North Carolina Vision 2030

North Carolina Vision 2030 sets forth focused strategies to drive economic recovery, growth, and development and create jobs for North Carolinians. Dashboard 2030 provides data to gauge the state’s current status on key metrics of progress toward Vision 2030 goals in four key areas:

  • Education & Talent Supply

    Developing and sustaining a first-rate education and talent development system that is effective and agile will ensure that North Carolina can consistently produce a competitive, diverse, world class workforce.

  • Competitive Business Climate

    North Carolina’s ability to retain, attract, and create businesses and good jobs is critical for our overall economic success.

  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation

    Entrepreneurship and innovation lead to capital formation, investment, and the creation of businesses and jobs in new, high-growth industries that will be important for North Carolina’s competitive advantage in the future.

  • Infrastructure & Growth Leadership

    A sound physical infrastructure that provides predictable access to energy, transportation, broadband, water, and clean air is important to meeting demand related to population and business growth.

About RTI International

RTI International is one of the world’s leading non-profit research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. Headquartered in Research Triangle Park, RTI provides independent and objective research and technical services to governments and businesses in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, international development, economic and social policy, energy and the environment, and laboratory testing and chemical analysis.

Dashboard 2030 Approach

Guiding Principles

The design and creation of Dashboard 2030 were guided by several key principles including independence, objectivity, and transparency. The use of independent and objective data facilitates informed debate based on facts. Transparency of data makes it easy to understand what each indicator is comprised of and allows users to readily conduct additional analysis if they are interested.

RTI International holds objectivity as one of its stated corporate values. RTI staff and processes ensure that its work is independent of undue influences by political, economic, or other factors. The Chamber Foundation selected RTI to create the dashboard to ensure that this independence and objectivity was ingrained from the start. Further, RTI worked with a panel of independent advisors to review the metrics and sources selected. The advisors are:

  • John Silvia, chief economist for Wells Fargo
  • Michael Walden, economist and William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University
  • Ted Abernathy, Economic Development Policy Advisor to the Southern Governors Association.

To ensure transparency of data, all sources are clearly identified. Links to source websites are provided so users can conduct their own analysis or better understand the methods of data collection and analysis that underpins each indicator. The dashboard also avoids using indices or composite numbers as a proxy for information. In this way, users can directly interpret the data and do not have to rely on others’ perspectives on what is “good” or “bad.”

Dashboard Data and Comparisons

Dashboard 2030 provides data and visualizations for two kinds of comparisons: time series and geographic. The data is oriented towards a contemporary analysis, allowing users to track North Carolina’s progress from 2000 to the present. All indicators use the most recent data available, but users should be mindful of data lags, where the most up to date data is several years old and not reflective of the current status of North Carolina’s performance.

Where possible, the dashboard compares North Carolina to the US average and the performance of the other 49 states. It is worth emphasizing that the focus of Dashboard 2030 is state competitiveness, so maps and visuals (including color gradations and legend ranges) were selected and designed to enable state by state comparisons. For example, the venture capital map in Entrepreneurship and Innovation would look markedly different if the focus were national analysis of venture capital investment. It would show a US map with California and Massachusetts shaded for high values and much of the US shaded for similar levels of investment. Instead, the venture capital map enables users to see which states are similar, which are doing better, and which fall behind North Carolina in terms of disbursement of VC dollars.

The dashboard also shows North Carolina performance at a county level, for seven economic regions, and by urban, rural, and suburban designation. The latter are derived from the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service’s 2013 rural-urban continuum codes, as shown in the table below.

Data for the Dashboard was compiled between August and October 2013 and the Dashboard was published November 2013.

Dashboard 2030 Limitations

There are several data limitations to Dashboard 2030. First, it is not possible for the dashboard to include an exhaustive collection of all the data important to North Carolina’s future. Leading indicators were selected to launch this version of the dashboard, but we recognize there are other topics and indicators that are important for the state. For example, measures of health, quality of life, and housing are not included in this version. We encourage users to supplement their research on Dashboard 2030 with their own analysis to ensure they have the information most relevant to their areas of interest.

Secondly, the data are limited by their contemporary focus (2000 to present). The dashboard is not intended for historical analysis in topic areas. Thirdly, the data track indicators of performance in areas critical to the state’s competitiveness, not investment in these key areas. For example, the dashboard tracks highway conditions but it does not track how much the North Carolina invests in highway infrastructure. Lastly, although North Carolina operates in a globally competitive environment, the dashboard is currently focused on competitiveness within the US.

Browser and Device Compatibility

Dashboard 2030 was built to be experienced on a tablet or computer with a minimum width of 768 pixels in a modern browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 or higher, Safari, or Firefox).

North Carolina

Dashboard 2030

Tracking North Carolina’s Progress in economic development, business climate and job growth

The website is built to be experienced on a tablet or computer with a minimum width of 768 pixels in a modern browser