Medical-device maker Becton Dickinson plans to open an East Coast distribution center in the Johnston County town of Four Oaks, creating 187 jobs by 2015.
Gov. Bev Perdue made the announcement this morning during a news conference at Four Oaks Elementary School.
The publicly traded company will receive a $600,000 grant from the state's One North Carolina Fund.
The jobs will pay average annual salaries of $28,771. That's below the Johnston County average of $31,408.
State officials said today the BD jobs are high quality, particularly given the overall state of the economy.
"In this economic environment we are trying to create good jobs for people," said Deborah Barnes, a spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Commerce.
"Just because they're slightly below the county average does not mean it's not a good job. It's certainly not a minimum wage job."
The company expects to begin hiring in 2012.
BD will be the first tenant at a nearly 400-acre industrial park at exit 87 off I-95, just north of the intersection of I-40. Officials hope that BD will help them attract other businesses to the long-delayed park.
Economic officials have been working for months to attract BD. They attempted to keep the recruiting effort secret under the code name "Project Pumpkin Pie."
The company was also considering sites in South Carolina and Virginia.
The New Jersey-based company is already a major Triangle employer. BD began operations in Research Triangle Park in 1972 and now employs abourt 900 people in RTP, Durham, Burlington and Mebane.
The company also is building a manufacturing facility just north on I-95 in Wilson that's expected to employ 90 people.
BD makes a range of medical products and supplies, including syringes, pipets, tests to detect cervical cancer and more. For its last fiscal year, the publicly traded company reported revenue of $7.16 billion.
BD employs about 29,000 people worldwide.
The N.C. Rural Economic Development Center recently awarded a $737,958 grant to the town of Four Oaks to extend water and sewer service to the site of the distribution center.
BD's stock (ticker: BDX) closed at $67.75 on Friday, down 14 percent since the beginning of the year.