North Carolina has not only proven itself in the manufacturing sectors such as Tobacco and Textiles, it also champions cutting-edge manufacturing technology used in the Automotive and Aerospace sectors. This State is responsible for producing 12 businesses out of the Fortune 500 list. That’s one of the many reasons North Carolina is next in our U.S. Manufacturing series.

Automotive Manufacturing

The automotive industry just hit their accelerator and is now gearing up for heavy investment in North Carolina. Within a short span of 4 years (2012-2016) the automotive sector grew by an astonishing 22%. It now employs upwards of 26,000 people working for 290 companies throughout the state. Thomas Built Buses is a great example of this accelerated growth. It’s the largest school bus manufacturing company in America, with a production rate of over 16,000 buses a year.

Standing as the 1st south-eastern state and 9th nationally for total automotive manufacturing, the state of North Carolina has achieved its rank as 10th for overall automotive industry employment. Government policies have made it possible for 34 out of the top 150 North American OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to invest in North Carolina. With 17,000 people employed as skilled workers in over 160 OEM manufacturers, North Carolina automotive manufacturing has become a significant cluster of all the manufacturing units.

Aerospace Manufacturing

North Carolina is where the will of two brothers fueled an invention that became one of the greatest things ever known to humankind. It changed the definition of long-distance travel. It made us realize that we are explorers by nature. The invention of the airplane indeed has deep roots in the state of North Carolina. With over 130 aerospace manufacturing companies, the state of North Carolina has provided them with an incredibly skilled workforce. More than 20,000 people are employed in the aerospace manufacturing industry spanning across, avionics, composite, metals, engine manufacturing, and interior products.

A great example of an aerospace company spreading its footprint in the state is United Technologies Corporation. It plans to invest around $4 million and thereby adding 325 jobs this year. The industry investment rate is so favorable that Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, launched a two-year cross-disciplinary program in the field of mechatronics. The rich investment area of Charlotte has produced over 8000 highly skilled engineers.

Apparel Manufacturing

Standing tall as the 4th largest employer, the textile industry provides jobs for about 9% of the total of textile workers throughout the country. In the last few years, wages in the sector have increased from 65% to 85%. In 2012, the total US exports from textile and apparel amounted to $17.6 billion, out of which North Carolina’s contribution were $2.3 billion.

While considering the overall export of the textile industry in last ten years, the value of textile products has increased by 36% which is almost double the national average of 18.4%. The primary export destinations for the state’s exports are Honduras (36%), Mexico (13%), the Dominican Republic (11%) and Canada (10%).

Ranking #2 in business costs, #9 in growth prospects and #12 in labor supply, the state of North Carolina has rightly earned the #2 position in Forbes list of best states for business.

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