In January, the Charlotte metro area population was 1.8 million people. In February, the metro area population was 2.3 million. Where did the half-million people come from? New boundaries were drawn for metropolitan statistical areas. (Photo: Downtown Chester, S.C., in Chester County, which was added to the Charlotte MSA. / Nancy Pierce)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 153,015 individuals who worked in Mecklenburg County commuted from another county in the Charlotte MSA – among the highest number of county-to-county commuters in the U.S. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Of metro areas with more than 1 million people, Charlotte ranked ninth nationally in population growth from 2011 to 2012. That growth was strongest at the center of the metro area, in Mecklenburg County, which outpaced the suburban counties in the region for the second year. (Image: Bing maps)
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.