Archive for December, 2017

It’s All About Jobs

Technology. Manufacturing. Healthcare. But North Carolina also is employing thousands of people in food distribution and processing. Seventeen counties listed top employers in food and agriculture related businesses. In 19 counties the largest employer was a retailer or educational institution (college or community college).

The picture for North Carolina’s economy also shows how vulnerable some counties are in the drive to “reform” healthcare. In 40 percent of the state, healthcare is driving the economic engine. The accelerated drive for new technology is affecting the hosiery and textile companies. With the creation of a proposed Fabric Discovery Center in North Carolina and its mission to commercialize high-performing products, new technology and the people to use it will put new demands on companies and the Manufacturing Solutions Center and the Textile Technology Center.

Welcome 2018. The race is on.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,

New Shift…New Dynamics

Wake and Mecklenburg Counties are racing to the top. Mecklenburg with 1.055 million people is the largest, followed closely by Wake with 1.029 residents. But Wake’s rate of growth is the fastest. Some 67 people move into Wake every day…almost 30,000 new people every year. Raleigh, Charlotte and eight other cities in the top 10 have 2.39 million almost one-fifth of the total population. Per capita income in Wake and Mecklenburg is almost identical at $51,000. Warren County with a per capita income of $29,100 is the state’s poorest. Most others range from $30,000 to $45,000, with Buncombe, Catawba, Durham, Orange, Guilford, Forsyth and Gaston over $40, 000.

The dynamics of the shift has divided state legislators and not just along partisan lines. Residents of the poorer counties are paying a tax rate approaching $1.00 per assessed valuation and are still struggling with inadequate public schools and infrastructure. Businesses looking to move to North Carolina have employees who demand quality schools, more shopping opportunities, entertainment and a diverse culture. Senator Harry Brown, Senate majority leader and Appropriations Chair, has challenged counties in his district. He sees the schools in need of repair in high-taxed locations. He has floated the concept of sharing sales taxes, most collected in the metropolitan areas. As expected he has met resistance. Brown also frets that a huge percent of state incentive money has gone to Wake and Mecklenburg Counties where businesses prefer to locate.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,

The Path for North Carolina And Its Shifting Economy

A new report compiled by North Carolina magazine is a revealing report of a state that is moving down a new path in the 21st century. It is not news that North Carolina is changing dramatically. But how the hosiery and textiles industries fit into the future is something to ponder.

Trends that are changing the face of the state will pose serious challenges for legislators, policy administrators, educators, and—most important—families coping with a jobs market demanding new and challenging skills. Think technology.

Manufacturing is still near the top rung for the state’s economy. But in 41 of the state’s counties, healthcare operations are the top employer. This is the case for thriving counties like Durham with Duke Medical Center,and to small counties where the local hospital provides the most jobs. In three counties, the Walmart store is the largest employer. And so we have another view of the “two North Carolinas”–one experiencing a growth rate of 10 percent over the past six years and the other losing population.

In 26 North Carolina, a manufacturer is the top jobs creator. But out of the top 25 public companies based in North Carolina, only one textile-hosiery company was included. Hanesbrands.

However several textiles or hosiery companies were among the top employers in counties. Overall, our industries employ 31,200 persons. But with new technology, that number is shrinking.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,