While at an outdoor wedding at Dennis Vineyards in Albemarle late last summer, I was a bit distracted by another duo apart from the bride and groom – a pair of green herons that flew back and forth and strutted about the pond in the background. (Photo: Jeff Beane)
Local perceptions may not have caught up with the new reality in the Charlotte region’s manufacturing economy. Even before the recession began in 2007, declines in the textile and furniture industries were changing the structure of local employment. As the downturn continued, counties that depended less on textile and furniture manufacturing lost fewer jobs. The result: Several counties traditionally considered centers of manufacturing employment, such as Gaston, now have a smaller percentage of jobs in manufacturing than fast-growing Union.
North Carolina's young people are increasingly steered away from manufacturing jobs. But many people now believe manufacturing has more promise than the low-wage service jobs that dominate the limited options for young people outside the state’s urban areas. (Photo: GMI)