Improving Business in the Wilmington Region

Manufacturing’s Outsized Impact

Since its founding in 1956, WBD has pursued diversification as a central theme in its economic development strategy. The vision has been a winner, with our region’s economy featuring a balanced blend of finance, logistics, headquarters, biotech, retail, healthcare and other industries.

Like North Carolina as a whole, manufacturing has long been at the heart of our region’s economy. Companies that make things have always had a valued place here, and that’s not just because of the more than 13,300 good jobs they maintain in New Hanover and Pender counties. Modern manufacturing, which relies on a long list of suppliers and logistics services, produces a strong multiplier for our economy. For every one dollar spent by a manufacturer, an additional $2.09 ripples through the economy, according to estimates by researchers at the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Moreover, the 468 manufacturing establishments spread throughout our region create a powerful impact through their sizable payrolls. Consider that manufacturing is Greater Wilmington’s 7th largest industry by employee headcount, but the sector’s $230.3 million in total annual compensation make it our 3rd largest industry when measured by payroll impact.

Modern manufacturers bring us bang for the buck. And we have the assets – both infrastructure and workforce development resources – to continue building on our success. We’re home to global giants like GE and Corning, but smaller names like IKA, Atlantic Tool & Die, and Interroll Corp also have found the ideal backdrop for success. Consumer foods makers such as Acme Smoked Fish, and Pender Packing help round out our manufacturing roster.

While all of our key industries are important to us, manufacturing is a clear winner for Greater Wilmington. We intend to keep the current and future needs of manufacturers in mind as we work to bring greater balance and diversification to the economy of our region.

R. Scott Satterfield