The Path for North Carolina And Its Shifting Economy

Paul Fogleman,

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,
PAUL FOGLEMAN

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