Strong Industries for North Carolina Employment

Employment in North Carolina and What Industries are Growing

According to a study by G. Jason Jolley of the North Carolina State University Institute for Emerging Issues, “Predicting North Carolina’s Job Market in 2020,” the state, like much of the rest of the United States, is going through a shift in the types of jobs available.

According to Jolley, one of the largest challenges the state faces is the decline in traditional middle class jobs that pay a decent wage to hard-working people with a high school education. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that construction jobs in the state will rise, but manufacturing jobs will fall, so jobs related to the making real, physical goods will remain flat.

People who would traditionally have sought work in a factory will instead likely work for medical care, retail or the restaurant sectors, which are growing much more quickly.

“The North Carolina Commission on Workforce Development” report confirms that traditional manufacturing industries in North Carolina are losing jobs. Textile employment went down by over 30 percent just from 2002-2005. Also according to this report 2 out of 25 of the fastest declining industries in North Carolina are in manufacturing. This report does not address the outlook for engineers alone, but notes that occupations requiring a 4-year college degree are growing quickly. This report is relatively old, but its findings and conclusion match that of the Institute for Emerging Issues report which used the latest BLS statistics and projections.

“North Carolina’s Supply Chain” is a long and comprehensive document analysing the supply chain for major industries in North Carolina from wood products to tobacco to electronics and textiles.

According to this report, in North Carolina supply chain industries employ around 12 percent of the state’s workforce. That’s 479,000 jobs. At $67,700, supply chain average income is 56 percent higher than the non-farm state average. Therefore, the opportunity is there to make a higher than average income.

According to this report, the part of GDP attributable to personal consumption drives supply chain employment. In the United States as a whole that’s nearly 70 percent of GDP. In North Carolina, that figure is just 66 percent, indicating room for growth.

According to the College Foundation of North Carolina, Mechanical Engineering as a profession faces slower than average growth because it is highly correlated with manufacturing, which they expect to decline.

Also according to the College Foundation of North Carolina, the state’s fastest growing jobs are not traditional manufacturing, engineering or supply chain jobs. Most of them are various medical services with personal and home care aides leading the list. Network systems, computer engineers and a few other IT-related jobs also make the list, but medical services, though not doctors, dominate the lists.

As for computer hardware engineers, the College Foundation of North Carolina lists even that specialty as a small occupation with slower than average.

In summary, manufacturing jobs are in steep decline. Even traditional engineering jobs are not as much in demand. There is still room for jobs in the supply chain industries.

The fastest growing jobs are in healthcare and medical services, wholesale and retail, educational services and professional services.