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Economics

Apple Arrives in RTP: What does this mean for the local economy and NC State?

Apple has announced their intent to break ground on a hub in Research Triangle Park (RTP), bringing $1 billion and over 3,000 jobs to North Carolina. The arrival of the tech giant promises six-figure salaries to those in IT-related fields and prospective job opportunities NC State graduates.

Steve Allen, associate dean and professor of economics, breaks down the potential impact Apple’s arrival in RTP will have on the local economy, the booming real estate market and our current Poole College of Management students.

Q&A with Steve Allen

What does it mean for the local economy? What are your predictions on how it will impact an ordinary citizen of Wake County and nearby counties?

Apple’s decision to open a new hub in RTP is the biggest and best economic news this area has had in years. Three reasons why: First, this is Apple – a global brand that continues to generate new growth opportunities in technology applications while maintaining a strong core business in computers, tablets and phones. Second, it means 3,000 new jobs paying six-figure salaries, a huge economic boost for housing and services. Third, Apple is arriving just when it seemed that there would be a surplus of real estate in RTP and questions about the long-term viability of technology office parks. 

How does the announcement impact the local real estate market? 

I imagine that many of the new employees will be relocating from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA. The local market already is a seller’s market and this will make it more so.  

Of course, Apple also will make many local hires which could end up starting a talent war with IBM, Cisco Systems and other tech companies in the area. A lot of software engineers could be looking at bigger houses!

What opportunities does it bring to NC State and Poole College? Is there a piece of advice you can give to current and prospective students?

I expect Apple to become more involved with NC State on multiple dimensions. Although Apple is a global company, it is hard to imagine they will treat NC State the same as Penn State going forward. Our graduate and undergraduate students in IT-related disciplines will be in greater demand.  

Apple will want to train and develop its 3,000 employees and NC State would do well to develop a strategic partnership with Apple focusing on graduate programs in engineering and management.  There will be research opportunities for faculty and, frankly, the university runs the risk of losing some top researchers to Apple.  

My advice to students is to bring your A-game as Apple is a very selective employer and well known for a rigorous selection process.