How the Economy is Changing

As the American economy continues its move away from factory and industrial jobs and into the digital age, it’s worth noting how far North Carolina has shifted in a relatively short period of time.

Tobacco used to drive the North Carolina economy

NC tobacco crop

Tobacco once dominated the state landscape. When Congress ended tobacco quotas (which the industry had in place since 1938), the government offered buyout money to farmers.  Many of these farmers diversified their crop portfolio and the percentage of smokers declined, altering the economic trends.

Textile mills were once the heartbeat of the NC small town economy

NC textile mill, circa 1930s

The decline of textiles and apparel in North Carolina began in 1996, attributed in part to global trade agreements that sent manufacturing away from home.  In just the ten years between 1996-2006, the number of textile and apparel plants declined by 40% with a 65% decrease in employment, according to the UNC School of Education.

Although the High Point area of North Carolina is still considered a major furniture hub, global competition and the rising imports of furniture to the United States changed the game in that industry, as well.

Local leaders in the Raleigh-Durham area created Research Triangle Park all the way back in 1959, with the goal of keeping graduates of the excellent area universities from skipping town following their studies.  Today, RTP is home to over 190 companies, employing over 50,000 workers.  Lenovo, SAS, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Red Hat, and Citrix  are among the corporations that maintain a large presence in the region.

The growth of Information Technology has put the Research Triangle squarely at the center of an innovation revolution.  IT job listing website regularly reports over 1,000 technology listings in the Raleigh-Durham area on a daily basis.  Over the past few years in particular, technology companies have placed an increasing emphasis on certification as a qualification for employment.  To get an overview at just how much the hiring landscape has changed, click the infographic below.

CompTIA Advance Your Career


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