North Carolina

NC: Gov. Perdue Announces 244 Jobs with Cree in Durham County

20 Sep, 2010

Company plans $135 million investment

Gov. Bev Perdue announced today that Cree Inc., a global leader in LED lighting technology and products, will expand its manufacturing operations in Durham. The company plans to create 244 jobs over the next two years and invest $135 million.  The project was made possible in part by a state grant from the Job Development Investment Grant program.


“Cree is a homegrown success story,” said Gov. Perdue. “Not just because they started here and grew into a global leader in efficient lighting technology, but also because North Carolina’s top-notch workforce and top-rated business climate helped encourage them to stay, expand and thrive here at home.”


Cree currently employs 1,723 full-time workers in Durham County North Carolina. While individual wages for the 244 additional jobs will vary by job function, the average wage for the new jobs is $42,726.  The average county wage in Durham County is $57,772.


Cree (NASDAQ:CREE) was established in 1987 and maintains its corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Durham County.  Globally, the company employs an additional 2,700 people in offices and manufacturing centers in China, Malaysia, Japan, and Germany.  Cree’s product families include LED fixtures and bulbs, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, power-switching devices and radio-frequency/wireless devices.  As part of the Durham expansion, Cree will begin production of the companies next generation LED wafers. 


“Cree is proud to be expanding our operations in North Carolina,” said Cree Chairman and CEO, Chuck Swoboda, “The establishment of this next generation wafer fab capability will help us to lead the next phase of the LED Lighting Revolution.”


“In these difficult times, this is the kind of news we are eager to hear,” said Rep. Mickey Michaux, of Durham. “It means jobs, but, just as important, it means our investments in education and the state’s infrastructure are paying off.  Our skilled workforce and much-envied business climate are encouraging companies to move here or expand once they get here.”


“Cree’s exciting announcement is an example of how we’re going to revive from this recession,” said Sen. Floyd McKissick, of Durham. “Instead of hunkering down during bad times, we’ve continued to put our money into education, transportation and the other building blocks of a thriving business climate.” 


To help facilitate this expansion, the state Economic Investment Committee today voted to award a Job Development Investment Grant to Cree.  JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.


Under the terms of the JDIG, the company is eligible to receive a grant equal to 60 percentof the state personal income withholding taxes derived from the creation of new jobs for each of the 10 years in which the company meets annual performance targets. If Cree meets the targets called for under the grant and sustains them for 10 years, the JDIG could yield $2.236 million in maximum benefits for the company.


In addition, up to $746,000 could be added to the state’s Industrial Development Fund for infrastructure improvements in economically distressed counties. When a JDIG is awarded in the state’s more prosperous counties such as Mecklenburg and Wake, 25 percent of the grant is allocated to this fund to encourage economic development in less prosperous areas.


Other partners who assisted with this project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, Durham County, and Duke Energy.


Through Gov. Perdue’s JobsNOW initiative, the state continues to work aggressively to create well-paying jobs, train and retrain its workforce, and lay the foundation for a strong and sustainable economic future.


For more information about Cree, including job opportunities, visit