Improving Business in the Wilmington Region
Workforce and Employment
Greater Wilmington’s diverse economy, welcoming communities and stellar quality-of-life account for our fast-growing population and ready workforce. Between 2000 and 2017, our MSA grew by 14 percent – more than 35,500 new residents. Within a five-county radius of downtown Wilmington lies a labor pool of approximately 200,000. This talent base includes people at every stage of life and career.
Our engaged public schools and private academies are at the forefront of tomorrow’s workforce needs. This is particularly true when it comes to producing human capital equipped with skills and knowledge in the sciences, technology, engineering and math-related subjects (“STEM”). In recent years, for instance, Wilmington Business Development has partnered with Corning Inc., one of the region’s leading manufacturers, in awarding an annual Award for Excellence in STEM Education to pioneering local teachers. The honor highlights the close partnership among the region’s business community, educational leaders and economic development advocates, all of whom share a commitment to keeping Greater Wilmington’s workforce ready for the opportunities of tomorrow.
The collaborative efforts of educators, businesses and community leaders also can be seen in the engaged posture of Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
CFCC has a 60+ year track record of providing free and flexible training that meets the evolving needs of arriving and expanding employers. Strong support from elected officials – and voters – in New Hanover and Pender counties has resulted in state-of-the-art learning spaces across Cape Fear’s main campus in downtown Wilmington, as well as its North Campus, a 145-acre site opened in 2005. Today, over 23,000 students pursue education and training across CFCC’s technical curricula, academic programs and continuing education offerings. Companies partnering with the college range from GE-Hitachi to Verizon Wireless.
UNC Wilmington enrolls nearly 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Its competitive admissions standards yield a population of high-achieving learners from across southeastern North Carolina and 26 foreign countries. UNCW is home to 55 bachelors-level curricula and 35 master’s degree programs. The University’s Cameron School of Business, in addition to producing well-qualified graduates in business analytics, information systems and supply-chain management, hosts a busy calendar of professional development and executive education offerings. UNCW growing list of doctoral programs enrolls top students in marine biology, educational leadership, psychology and nursing practice. The University is routinely ranked among the Southeast’s top learning institutions by leading national publications.
Unemployment rates/Labor force & wages
The Greater Wilmington Region has historically experienced unemployment rates at or below state and national averages. As of December, 2018, the following counties reflect these unemployment rates New Hanover 3.8%, Pender 4.2%, Brunswick 5.3%.
For historical data and more in depth analysis of the labor force please click here to access the North Carolina Employment Security Commissions Labor Market Division also known as D4 (Demand Driven Data Delivery System). In addition to further information about the state, you can also choose either New Hanover or Pender Counties from the drop down menu on the left side of the screen.
According to the United States Department of Labor, North Carolina is tied for the lowest unionization rate in the country at only 2.7%. Click here to read the full report.
According to the US Census Bureau, New Hanover County has a median household income of $51,457 and Pender County has a median household income of $49,357. Please click on each county to view their US Census FactFinder pages which provide additional pertinent information.