North Carolina to Receive New Jobs in Clayton

North Carolina to Receive New Jobs in Clayton

Biotherapeutics company Grifols will invest $356.1 million to expand its plasma facilities in Clayton, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced on June 9. The investment should bring 300 new jobs to the area.

What is Grifols?

The Barcelona-based global healthcare company supplies medicines to over 100 countries, and its therapeutics division has a prominent presence in North Carolina. Clayton already has housed one Grifols plasma facility since 2014. Two other facilities are in progress: a new plasma fractionation facility (worth $90 million) set to open in 2021 and a purification facility (worth $120 million) scheduled for 2022. Through these Clayton facilities, Grifols employs over 1,600 people, making the company Johnston County’s largest employer. Over in the Research Triangle Park, Grifols’s bioscience division employs another 400 people. The new investments will expand the company’s North Carolina jobs footprint.

Grifols Therapeutics in Clayton, North Carolina (via ABC11).

Let’s discuss the medicines that Grifols manufactures: its global trademark is plasma-based medicine. This product requires Grifols’s two-part system. The investment should bring 300 new jobs to the area with careful production and clinical testing. Once plasma donors have given their plasma, it undergoes “fractionation” (the process which separates crucial proteins from the plasma). Grifols purifies those proteins to develop medicines, so that patients who lack proteins can receive them during treatment. Those North Carolina locations support these processes, as do the 13 plasma-donation centers around the state.

Grifols Has Also Planned COVID-19 Treatments

The company pledged in March 2020 to “strive further to serve patients and society” by pursuing COVID-19 treatments. Their plans include plasma infusions and medicines derived from the plasma of donors who have recovered from COVID-19. This plan to develop medicine from plasma donations could lead to crucial COVID-19 treatment. Grifols has since partnered with the FDA and other federal agencies to streamline the manufacturing and testing process.

Gov. Cooper understands the benefits of Grifols’s involvement in North Carolina anti-COVID-19 research. “Companies like Grifols continue to choose expansion in North Carolina because our workforce can meet their needs of this important facility,” he said. “During this public health crisis, we have seen the value of manufacturing close to home and this expansion means that new, life-saving medicines will be manufactured in Clayton.”

How Will The New Grifols Jobs Impact the North Carolina Economy?

We can expect that more Grifols investment in Clayton will at least help Johnston County. According to the governor’s office, the county’s average worker receives $40,734 per year. But the future Grifols jobs would likely pay an average salary of $69,032 (varying by position). In turn, that new payroll would generate at least $20.7 million for the area and state each year.

However, the new plants likely won’t relieve the economic uncertainty left by COVID-19. A May 28 study from UNC-Charlotte presented grim findings for the state’s economy: North Carolina saw the largest economic setback since the Great Depression. Though the state had seen continuous growth from 2010-19, COVID-19 will likely bring net loss of 300,000 jobs during 2020. 12 of the state’s 14 non-agricultural sectors will suffer employment decreases this year (after already astronomic unemployment claims).

John Connaughton, professor of financial economics at UNC-Charlotte’s Belk College of Business, believes that the economy won’t right itself until mid-2022 at the earliest. He predicts that North Carolina jobs will take even longer to return to the earlier low levels of 2019.

But the news isn’t purely dismal for Grifols facilities in Clayton. Because the expansions occur in Johnston County (a Tier 3 in the state’s economic system), state tax revenues on the site will enter the Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. That amount could total about $1.72 million. And through the Utility Fund, the tax revenues would help rural communities improve their roads, buildings and broadband (to better attract businesses). That is, Grifols could lead to economic improvements around North Carolina. They would only begin once the facilities become operational in 2021, but those upturns could still help ease the ongoing economic slump from COVID-19.