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What’s made in North Carolina makes North Carolina.

Manufacturing plays a significant role in North Carolina’s economy, accounting for nearly 21% of North Carolina’s total output and employing 10.8% of our state’s workforce. As the exclusive state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in North Carolina, the NC Chamber works every day to advocate for small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector.

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The Current Challenge

While the state’s traditional manufacturing sectors continue to evolve, North Carolina has reinvented itself as a leader in high-tech manufacturing across an array of business sectors, including biotech, pharmaceutical and aerospace. However, what many may see as a boon for an industry is in fact a double-edged sword: job openings have been growing at double-digit rates since 2017, but so too has the skills gap, which leaves employers unable to fill critical jobs.

Add to that an outdated and misplaced stigma about the industry, and you’ve got the potential for disaster for one of our state’s most enduring industries. Deloitte finds that the skills gap “may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of 2.5 trillion.”

The Solutions

The NC Chamber works closely with our manufacturing members to identify solutions to their most pressing problems. Crucial to these efforts is collaboration with employers, community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and education partners in efforts to bridge the skills gap. Removing stigma is key to getting more students enrolled in certification and training programs that ready them for manufacturing careers.

Yearly, we promote Manufacturing Day throughout the state, driving fruitful engagement between employers and today’s students (tomorrow’s talent).

This year, we will host the second annual Coolest Thing Made in NC contest — a statewide celebration of our manufacturers that simultaneously educates future workers about the promise of manufacturing careers.

In addition to these efforts, the NC Chamber Government Affairs team works yearly to advocate a jobs agenda that will continue to keep NC first in business. Recent wins include:

  • 2017: Protected the Manufacturing Extension Partnership that supports small and medium manufacturers.
  • 2017: Senate Bill 257 repealed the costly mill machinery tax, saving NC manufacturers $54 million annually.
  • 2018: House Bill 374 reduced burdensome regulations on business.
  • 2020: House Bill 118 (Senate Bill 704) protected manufacturers from unwarranted lawsuits stemming from the spread of COVID-19.
  • 2020: House Bill 1079 provided relief for businesses that remit sales tax and increased sales tax exemptions on equipment purchases made by large fulfillment facilities.

The Agenda