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North Carolina's Manufacturing Job Growth Stalled In 2016

Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, April 11th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Following five straight years of steady growth, North Carolina’s manufacturing employment levels were little changed in 2016, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), a publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports manufacturing employment in North Carolina inched up by 721 jobs in 2016, less than one half of one percent.

MNI reports the state’s manufacturing employment increased at a rate of about one percent per year between January 2011 and January 2016, adding a total of 19,000 jobs. Currently, North Carolina’s 9,891 manufacturers employ 569,392.

“Global competition and a strong dollar seem to be catching up with North Carolina, with very tepid gains reported in the past year,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, the state earns high marks for a variety of site selection factors, including low business costs, solid infrastructure and favorable labor climate. In addition, its diverse manufacturing sector and embrace of technology may help ailing industries like textiles spark a potential rebound.”

North Carolina’s slight manufacturing employment gain was led by the food processing industry, which added 3.4% to its workforce in 2016, and remains the state’s second-largest sector by employment, employing 61,479. These gains were offset by major losses in the state’s top-ranked industrial machinery sector, which shed 4.4% of its workforce to 66,340 workers. Third-ranked textiles/apparel also posted a loss, down 2.3% to 54,926 jobs.

Additional losses were recorded in the primary metals sector, down 6%; stone/clay/glass, down 3.3%; and electronics, down 1.6%.

Industrial locations announcing closures included MillerCoors, which shuttered its brewery in Eden, and Flextronics, which closed its electronics facility in Charlotte. In addition, auto-glass maker Safelite ceased operations at its factory in Enfield and ConvaTec closed its Greensboro plant.

Offsetting losses were employment increases in North Carolina’s rubber/plastics sector, which was up 3.2%; chemical processing, which rose 1.7%; and transportation equipment, up a half percent.

Several companies announced new operations in North Carolina, including Sanderson Farms, which opened a chicken processing plant in St. Pauls, and HUESKER, which recently broke ground on a new geosynthetic plant in Shelby. In addition, a few new textile plants are slated to begin hiring in the state, which may help stem losses generally suffered in the industry. Taiwan-based Everest Textile plans to open a textiles plant in Forest City; King Charles Industries established a performance fabric facility in Anson County; and Carolina Nonwovens moved operations to a larger manufacturing location in Maiden.

Job gains were strongest in the eastern part of the state, with the Southeast region up 2.2% to 60,503 jobs, and the Northeast up a half percent to 147,493. Jobs were virtually unchanged in the Northwest quadrant of the state with 250,766 jobs, and declined 1.4% in the Southwest to 110,630.

City data collected by MNI shows Charlotte remains the state’s top city by industrial employment, with 44,149 jobs, up 1.3% 2016. Employment in second-ranked Greensboro inched down a half percent to 28,541 jobs, and declined 1.1% in third-ranked Research Triangle Park to 19,249 workers. Winston-Salem ranks fourth with 14,317 jobs, up 3.1%, while fifth-ranked Raleigh accounts for 14,311 workers, with no significant change reported.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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