CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Insurance giant MetLife plans to bring 2,600 jobs to North Carolina, half of which are coming to Charlotte, in what's touted as the largest jobs announcement in state history.
The jobs will be added by the year 2015 and pay $58,000 a year on average, according to a UNCC economic impact study.
MetLife will turn 250,000 square feet of the Gragg building in the Ballantyne Corporate Park into a hub for U.S. retail operations.
The other 1,300 jobs will be in Cary with an emphasis on technology and global operations.
"We've been waiting for this for a while," said Erik Carpenter, the general manager of Blackthorne Restaurant & Bar, which is across the street from the Gragg building in Ballantyne. New jobs mean more customers.
"It's not just the 1,300 people who are going to be working, a lot of these people have families, so you're looking at probably three times that number of people coming into the neighborhood or at least somewhere in the general area," he said.
"It is a historic day," said Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan.
Morgan says Charlotte's growth, infrastructure and financial service oriented workforce helped land the MetLife jobs.
It's expected to cut into the state's 9.5% unemployment rate.
"A significant number of jobs, we presume, will be local hires who are unemployed or underemployed and look for an opportunity to work for an iconic American brand name and Fortune 50 company," Morgan said.
MetLife gets millions in tax incentives, but a UNC Charlotte professor studying the direct and indirect effects of MetLife shows people spending millions and creating 62 more jobs in the area.
MetLife and the Charlotte Chamber are having a news conference Friday to unveil more details about the jobs.