North Carolina's economy has been shaped by a variety of industries over the centuries, from tobacco cultivation and textile manufacturing to furniture production and financial services. In the 1700s and 1800s, tobacco was the main economic activity in the state, while in the early 20th century, the manufacture of tobacco products and textiles was the primary industry. In recent years, North Carolina has become a leader in agriculture, financial services and manufacturing. The state's industrial production, mainly textiles, chemicals, electrical equipment, paper and pulp, and paper products, ranked eighth in the country in the early 1990s.
The textile industry has been losing jobs to producers in Latin America and Asia for the past 25 years, although North Carolina remains the largest textile employer in the United States. Furniture production has also been affected by the shift of jobs to Asia (especially China). The state's tourist destinations include amusement parks, golf courses, wineries, beaches, mountains, and sports facilities. North Carolina's tourism industry employs more than 190,000 people and is the sixth most visited state in the country.The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is responsible for overseeing different aspects of agriculture and manufacturing.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce maintains a Tourism Service that provides matching funding and consultation for tourism development in the state, including rural tourism. With a population of 10.5 million and 10 cities with more than 100,000 residents in communities that stretch more than 300 miles from the ocean to the mountains, North Carolina is home to a variety of stable, successful business sectors.The state is also home to important military facilities such as the Marine Corps base, Lejeune base camp, Fort Bragg-Pope military airfield and Seymour Johnson Air Force base. The Global TransPark in Kinston is an industrial air park with an 11,000 foot runway that meets the manufacturing and logistics needs of the aerospace and defense industries. These companies are supported by numerous research centers and professional programs that promote innovation in the automotive industry through development and testing.North Carolina is also a major food and beverage processing state with about 1,000 such companies in the industry.
Campbell's, Butterball, Smithfield and Sierra Nevada are some of these companies. A 35-member working group was created to take advantage of business opportunities related to food and agriculture. Small start-ups as well as information technology superpowers such as Google, IBM and Cisco are among the companies that call North Carolina home.In biotechnological and pharmaceutical manufacturing, Bayer, BASF, LabCorp and Novo Nordisk do business in North Carolina. They are supported by numerous industry partners such as the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis which is a 350-acre scientific community campus where collaborative research and product development in health and nutrition are carried out in collaboration with eight universities.North Carolina's long history as a furniture manufacturing center continues into the 21st century with more than 600 wood and wood products stores residing in the state.
Ethan Allen, Ashley Furniture, Lexington Home Brands and Sealy are some of these well-known names. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the state has the largest furniture industry in the country comprising 3,000 stores and more than 35,000 employees.More than 300,000 people work in the financial services industry in North Carolina for companies such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Fidelity Investments, Lending Tree and Credit Suisse. Around 250,000 professionals work in industries related to tourism or outdoor recreation in North Carolina. This is equivalent to approximately 1 in 45 North Carolina residents having a direct job in tourism.The three main elements of the property tax system in North Carolina are real estate, motor vehicles, and personal property (inventories and personal household assets are exempt).
Textile factories of all kinds were established during this time period as well as factories that manufactured a variety of tobacco products and dozens of manufacturers of high-quality furniture creating jobs for thousands of North Carolinians. Despite cultural and financial unrest during The Great Depression era North Carolina emerged during World War II with great economic promise. The North Carolina Treasury Management Association supports this industry as does Queen City Fintech which works to create a community that encourages growth drives innovation inspires growth and encourages inclusion in the financial and insurance startup sectors.