TD Economics: Manufacturing Industry in North Carolina Transitions to High Tech

TD Economics, a TD Bank affiliate, finds in its latest report that the economy of North Carolina continues its transition period and, while the economy diversifies, it will gradually become increasingly resistant to economic downturns.

The author of the TD Economics report, economist Christos Shiamptanis, said that the transition is a necessary evil, as the state’s manufacturing sector moves from traditional industries like apparel and textiles to biotechnology, high-tech and services. He added that the state’s economic output is boosted by the improved productivity and the enhanced efficiency of high-tech businesses. These businesses also require high-skilled workers, and high-skill jobs are more resilient to negative economic evolutions than middle-skilled positions.

The report identifies several growth opportunities for the state of North Carolina, which include a shift to industries with high potential, such as pharmaceutical and electronics, the strong research universities with world-class educational programs and the development of technology business clusters.

Shiamptani, explaining the potential of North Carolina, said that the decade of 1999-2009 the output of electronics and computer manufacturing increased by 569 percent, way above the national average, while production of chemicals grew by 9 percent, in the context of national production dropping 3 percent. He added that high-tech manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies tend to stay above the floating line even in crisis times. If the state’s economy were to transition to these types of businesses, the manufacturing jobs in this area of the country should not be as volatile as they currently are.

The transition to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and high-tech production is even more necessary since the traditional manufacturing businesses have a much less optimistic outlook and declines will most probably persist.