North Carolina is bringing manufacturing back.
The state formerly known as a textile manufacturing hub has been working to reclaim its title—manufacturing jobs grew for the fourth year in row, gaining 5,964 in the year ended January 2016.
Now, 10,026 manufacturers are calling North Carolina home and giving 568,674 workers work, according to a Manufacturers’ News, Inc. (MNI) report. The state has added more than 19,000 industrial jobs since January 2011, recovering roughly 21 percent of those lost during the recession.
That growth, however, is slowing at the hand of a strong dollar.
Of the state’s top industrial sectors, textiles and apparel ranks third, employing 56,428 workers, a 1 percent increase over last year.
Despite the textile sector’s gains, albeit slight, some manufacturers won’t be forging ahead.
Mohican Mills, which dealt in knitting, dyeing, finishing, packaging and shipping, said last March that it would close up after more than 60 years, saying simply that it had exhausted all options to sustain the business and turned up none that worked.
Kellogg’s also closed its Charlotte snack plant and one furniture factory shut its two locations. At the same time, Butterball opened a new plant, and a medical components facility and fuel systems manufacturer started up factories in North Carolina.
Regardless, Tom Dubin, president of Evanston, Illinois-based publishing company, MNI, which has been surveying industry since 1912, considers North Carolina ripe for more manufacturing.
“With its skilled labor pool and top-notch incentive programs, as well as its low business costs and abundance of shovel-ready sites, North Carolina has wide-ranging appeal for manufacturers,” Dublin said. “However, like much of the nation, a stronger dollar is putting a dent in growth, with job gains not as strong as in previous years.”