BREAKING: Microsoft to add 430 jobs, expand Charlotte campus

Tech giant's expansion is the latest in string of job announcements; Boost for Steele Creek?

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Microsoft expansion shows continued strength of local tech scene; average salaries of $98,000

The juggernaut of Charlotte tech job creation is rolling on this morning, with Microsoft planning to create 430 high-paying jobs and spending $23M to expand its campus in southwest Charlotte.

“This investment underscores our continued commitment to enhancing the quality of life and creating economic opportunity for the entire region,” said Reggie Isaac, director of Microsoft’s Charlotte campus, at an uptown news conference this morning.

The jobs would have average salaries of $98,000 a year.

Welcome to the party: Charlotte has been on an absolute tear in the last few months when it comes to big announcements of tech jobs. It’s notable because economists nationally are scouring the economy for signs of weakness after almost a decade of expansion. But companies in Charlotte are continuing to announce new buildings and thousands of new jobs. Employers in the Charlotte area have added about 29,000 jobs in the last year, federal data show. If this be a slowdown, let there be more of it.

Most of the recent tech announcements have been in the financial technology sector, also known as fintech. Charlotte tech employment has surged by 34% in the last five years, and the region is on track to surpass the Raleigh area in tech jobs.

If you’re keeping score at home, the recent big tech announcements include:

  • AvidXchange: 1,200 new employees in a second HQ building at its Music Factory campus.

  • Lowe’s: 2,000 workers in a tech hub located in a 23-story South End tower.

  • LendingTree: Plans to create more than 400 jobs in the next five years and is building new HQ in South End.

  • Says it’s hiring 1,000 workers in five years (though skepticism is warranted).

Boost for Steele Creek? Most of those jobs are being created near uptown. Microsoft’s announcement Friday is notable because its Charlotte offices are off Arrowood Road. It could be a boon to the nearby and fast-growing Steele Creek area.

Who is this Microsoft, anyway? Based in Seattle, Microsoft is more of a traditional tech company. It’s long been known as a maker of PCs, tablets and software, and more recently it has been moving into cloud computing. It also owns LinkedIn. The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance listed it last year as having 1,125 employees, but it doesn’t draw a lot of attention locally.

With $113B in revenues last year, the company is #26 on the Fortune 500 list, just one spot behind Bank of America. This week, it reported a huge gain in revenues and earnings last quarter, in which it made $10.7B in profits.

But the company is apparently not rich enough to decline tax incentives. Details on those were not immediately available Friday morning, but state and local leaders at the news conference talked repeatedly about the importance of “partnerships.”

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The Charlotte Ledger is published by Tony Mecia, an award-winning former Charlotte Observer business reporter and editor. He lives in Charlotte with his wife and three children.