North Carolina has a long history of manufacturing excellence — from its traditional, natural-resources-based industries to the innovative, high-tech R&D and commercialization that give its research centers, such as Research Triangle Park, a world-class reputation.
Manufacturing is the largest driver of North Carolina’s economic growth (35 percent) coming out of the recession. Almost 20 percent of the GSP is attributed to manufacturing by NAM (2011). Nearly 440,000 employees work in manufacturing, which represents 11 percent of the state’s non-farm work force, according to the BLS (November 2012). Over the last two years North Carolina has added 7,200 net manufacturing jobs.
“Some companies are coming to North Carolina because of reshoring initiatives,” says North Carolina Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dale Carroll. “They realize that North Carolina’s geographic proximity to customers and supply chains, highly skilled and productive work force, and reasonable transportation, labor, and logistics costs make it possible to be cost-competitive with overseas locations like China.”
Top manufacturing industries in North Carolina include food, chemicals, fabricated metal products, computers and electronics, and furniture.
Representatives from North Carolina Department of Commerce regional offices across the state make 1,500 visits a year to businesses to “provide service after the sale,” says Carroll. “We check in regularly to see how we can help them grow their operations. Our relationships with these companies and local trade organizations really make a difference.”
In 2012, 68 percent of the new projects that were announced were in the manufacturing field. Lenovo indicated it would construct a plant in Guilford County to build computers, creating 115 new jobs. Other high-level projects include KSM Castings ($45 million, 189 jobs), Herbalife ($130 million, 493 jobs), Klausner ($110 million, 350 jobs), Deere-Hitachi ($97 million, 340 jobs), and Ashley Furniture ($81 million, 550 jobs).
Herbalife’s project in Winston-Salem involves retrofitting an existing facility to create a world-class manufacturing plant for dietary supplements and food products. This will be the company’s largest owned manufacturing facility. To help facilitate this expansion, Herbalife received a grant of up to $1 million from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance for business projects that are considered important for growing the state economy.
Big companies like BMW, Boeing, Continental, and Michelin have invested more than $7 billion in new projects in South Carolina over the last two years, creating about 21,000 jobs since January 2010. This represents a greater than 10 percent employment gain — one of the best in the country.
Since January 2011, South Carolina has recruited more than $5 billion in capital investment and more than 8,000 jobs to the automotive sector. New announcements include Kiswire’s $15 million expansion in Newberry County, which will meet the higher demand for steel cord. Tire maker Michelin North America, which is the largest manufacturing employer in South Carolina and operates 18 production facilities in the state, announced it would expand its existing rubber production operations in Anderson County. The $200 million project is expected to generate 100 new jobs and be operational in 2014. In the last 21 months, the company has committed to invest a total of $1.15 billion and create at least 870 total new jobs in South Carolina.
In January 2013 South Carolina was recognized by IBM-Plant Location International (IBM-PLI) as the top state for jobs linked to foreign investment. South Carolina placed first above Texas and North Carolina, which were ranked second and third, respectively, in the 2012 report.
“Hundreds of foreign firms employ tens of thousands of residents throughout our state, creating wealth and helping make the communities they’re in sustainable,” says Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “The IBM-PLI report’s ranking is another confirmation that people are taking notice of the economic development successes we’ve had here in the Palmetto State.”
Source: Area Development