Working in North Carolina

Working in North Carolina

North Carolina is a south-eastern state with a welcoming attitude. In fact, according to census reports, the population of native Tar Heelers will be surpassed by in-migration by the year 2020.

North Carolina is nicknamed the "Tar Heel State" as it was once the greatest producer of tar in the nation. Formally, natives are called North Carolinians.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNCCH) athletes are called Tar Heels. There is no shortage of institutions of higher learning in North Carolina, and college sports are revered in the state. Four Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) schools are located in North Carolina giving these high-quality teams a regional demonym of their own: Tobacco Road.

Tobacco Road and statewide tobacco references result from the controversial crop being North Carolina's number one agricultural staple. North Carolina leads the nation in tobacco production.

Textiles and furniture manufacturing were historical commercial mainstays. Sharp decreases in production, and thus jobs, have stricken rural areas over the past few decades. Although North Carolina produces more textiles than any other state in the U.S., production nationwide has all but moved offshore.

Over 85 percent of all employment is in service-related occupations. North Carolina has become the headquarters for many financial and technological companies who have opened their head offices here.

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is known as The Research Triangle Park (RTP). With research and development furiously taking off in academia at nearby UNC, Duke, and North Carolina State, information technology (IT) and biomedical research firms started clustering into the tri-city area.

IBM's second largest campus in the world is located within the RTP along with divisions of BASF, Cisco, Ciena and numerous other global IT firms. Pharmaceuticals, life sciences, and medical innovations are created everyday at companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Wyeth.

There is a significant dichotomy in the workforce as far as educational and training opportunity is concerned. Skills suitable for manufacturing textiles and furniture do not transfer into the well-paying, highly-technical and analytical positions. While manufacturing jobs may still be an option, assembling semi-conductors or manufacturing chemical compounds takes significantly different sets of skills and knowledge.

While growth in retail sales, cashiers, and hospitality workers grows, persons who held jobs with average wages are now forced into the lower-paying positions due to the development gap.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in North Carolina is 9.4% compared to the U.S. rate of 8.2%. The average annual salary is $36,000.


Charlotte is North Carolina's largest city. The unemployment rate is at 9.5%. The area is recovering from the financial and banking institutional crises that occurred during the 2008-2010 recessionary period. Major employers with headquarters in Charlotte such as Bank of America, Duke Energy, and SPX Corporation are growing once again and strengthening human resources.


The unemployment rate in Durham is reported at 7.4%. The average annual salary is $37,000.


Greensboro's unemployment rate was reported at 9.7%. The average annual salary is $46,000.


Raleigh is the state capital. Unemployment is reported at 7.7%. The average annual salary is $43,000.