How Is North Carolina's Manufacturing Sector Faring?

Date: October 31, 2017

This workforce is the largest in the Southeast and a fifth of the state’s economy.

The North Carolina manufacturing sector employs 460,000 people—the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast and the 10th largest in the U.S.—and accounts for 20 percent of the state’s total economic output, which is the fifth highest in the U.S. Last month, Gov. Cooper declared Oct. 2-6 “North Carolina Manufacturing Week” to bring attention to this important industry.

“North Carolina understands and values manufacturing,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement. “Manufacturing jobs are key to our current and future economy, and we need to invest in helping workers and students learn the high-tech skills needed to pursue careers in 21st-century manufacturing.”

While an important business sector for the state, North Carolina’s scores for manufacturing industry healthy could be improved, according to Conexus Indiana’s 2017 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card for the U.S.

Conexus Indiana is a private sector initiative focused on the manufacturing and logistics sectors of the economy. Its manufacturing and logistics report card is produced each year with the help of the Center for Business and Economic Research. The report card ranks each state on manufacturing industry health, logistics industry health, human capital, worker benefit costs, tax climate, expected fiscal liability gap, global reach, sector diversification, and productivity and innovation—all issues of importance for manufacturing site selection professionals.

North Carolina was graded as follows:

  • Manufacturing industry health: C+
  • Logistics industry health: C
  • Human capital: C
  • Worker benefit costs: C
  • Tax climate: B+
  • Expected fiscal liability gap: A
  • Global reach: C+
  • Sector diversification: B+
  • Productivity and innovation: B

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