A more detailed picture emerged Friday of how many jobs could be created by insurance giant MetLife in Charlotte and how many could stem from relocations from other parts of the country.
MetLife is expected to bring 1,300 jobs to Charlotte, and as many as 40 percent might be filled by company employees transferred to the region.
N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker told the Observer that 30 percent to 40 percent of the 2,600 jobs MetLife plans to add to the state might be made up of MetLife employees brought to North Carolina through consolidations.
Theyre clearly expecting the majority of these jobs to come out of this market, Decker said.
Reached Friday, John Calagna, MetLife spokesman, did not dispute Deckers figures.
MetLife plans to create a hub in Charlotte and in Cary. St. Louis was in the running for the same jobs, but lost to North Carolina.
The jobs are expected to be split evenly between Cary, which would serve as global technology and operations hub for the company, and Charlotte, which would be a home for MetLifes U.S. retail business.
Calagna said Friday that the average salary for the 2,600 jobs will be around $80,000. The jobs are expected to be created by the end of 2015.
He said its too early to know how many MetLife employees will relocate to North Carolina.
Some but not many critical managers might be in that number, he said. But, he said, MetLife hasnt had relocation discussions with those managers. In the end, those managers might not even want to relocate, he said.
The North Carolina hub-creation is part of MetLifes global strategy, unveiled last year, to cut about $600 million in costs by 2015 and create efficiencies, Calagna said. MetLife has more than 30 administrative sites, mostly in the Northeast, and theyve grown over time, and were looking to reduce the number that we have, he said.
The second factor behind the North Carolina hubs, he said: MetLifes retail and global tech employees are scattered around the country, collaborating via email or conference calls. Its not a very effective or efficient way to work, he said. The hubs would allow those workers to be in one place.
John Connaughton, economics professor at UNC Charlotte, was not surprised that MetLife might relocate 30 percent to 40 percent of its employees, calling the figure on the low side.
I would suspect even more of those would come from imported jobs, he said. Its a tight labor market. MetLife is not interested in hiring a new workforce for this.
The relocated employees could mean about 500 new families to the Charlotte area. Thats new income to the area that was being paid in some other part of the country, and thats going to generate a lot of spinoff jobs, Connaughton said.
Those spinoff jobs, he said, will be found in banking, supermarkets and auto dealerships, among other businesses.
Gov. Pat McCrory has called the MetLife deal the largest jobs announcement ever for North Carolina.
Its still unknown where MetLife will locate in Charlotte.
The company has discussed setting up at Ballantyne Corporate Parks Gragg building, which is owned by The Bissell Cos. Bissell spokeswoman Christina Thigpen said Friday the company would not comment.
Calagna said his company has not yet signed leases in Charlotte or Cary. He would not name any buildings or sites that MetLife is considering.
To win over MetLife, North Carolina is offering millions of dollars in incentives to the company, which is headquartered in New York and has 64,000 employees.
Calls to St. Louis officials were not returned Friday.
A state Job Development Investment Grant is expected to provide up to $87.2 million to the company over 12 years. Also from the state, the company is slated to receive a grant of up to $2 million from the One North Carolina Fund and roughly $5 million in training credits.
Wake County is expected to provide a roughly $2 million grant to the company, and this month the Cary Town Council is expected to consider an incentives package for MetLife.
The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County could provide $2.9 million in tax rebates over eight years.
Calagna would not say how much in incentives, if any, St. Louis or Missouri offered to create the jobs there.
Critics of incentives to lure companies argue they cost taxpayers without creating a net gain in jobs.
But from Charlottes standpoint, Connaughton said, the incentives landed jobs.
Believe me, its not a zero-sum game locally, Connaughton said. Economics is like politics: Its all local.
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