Carolinas Gateway Partnership (NC) – Target Industry Analysis

ChallengeLike other manufacturing-based communities across the nation, Edgecombe and Nash Counties, (known collectively as the Carolinas Gateway) were confronted with the difficult challenges of attracting well-paying jobs to meet the needs of today, while at the same time positioning the community to thrive in the economy of tomorrow. While the region has many key assets—a favorable tax structure, access to consumer markets of the Eastern Seaboard, and proximity to the Research Triangle among them—it also faces a number of challenges that must be overcome in order to meet its potential. In addition to working towards diversifying the region’s economic base, which depends heavily on a few major employers, area leaders have struggled to overcome the damage caused by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. The extensive damage caused by the flooding resulted in business closings and relocations, higher unemployment, fiscal strains on local governments, and a significant drop in personal income. To help address these issues, the Carolinas Gateway Partnership sought TIP’s assistance in conducting a target industry analysis to identify industry sectors that are best suited for attraction to the region and that will form the basis for proactive development.

ApproachThe primary purpose of this work was to identify industry sectors the Partnership should target based on the current and future economic climate in the region. To learn about the area first-hand and identify the region’s major assets, TIP conducted site visits, which included meeting with officials and business leaders from the area to gain an understanding of the strengths and challenges facing the community, and to discuss their views about the types of projects the area should target. Second, the team compiled and analyzed published information about the workforce and industry sectors in the immediate area. This analysis, combined with the team’s expertise, was used to develop short and long-term targets for the area. The report included profiles of each sector and outlined key attributes for each sector in the community.

OutcomeTarget industry recommendations included both immediate and long-term opportunities. Immediate targets included automotive components, metal fabrication, plastics, paper and allied products, and logistics. Long-term opportunities included electronics and pharmaceuticals. As a result of the analysis, the Partnership has been successful in attracting new industry within the target sectors and is making considerable headway in diversifying its economic base.

TIP Contact Tom Stellman