North Carolina Labor & Economic Analysis Division Prosperity Zone Data Book

The North Carolina Labor & Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) recently published data books profiling the economies of each North Carolina Prosperity Zone. Data and analysis can be found on population growth; labor force and employment changes; unemployment; industry and wage data; and education. The statewide analysis compares the eight (8) zones; however, there are also individual data books on each zone. The data books cover years 2008-2013 (the latest full year for which data is available for all indicators in the data books) and will be updated periodically as new data becomes available.

The High Country WDB, Western Piedmont WDB, and part of the Region C WDB make up the Northwest Zone:Northwest Prosperity Zone

  • Counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey
  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas (core urban area of 50,000 or more population): Hickory-Morganton
  • Micropolitan Statistical Areas (core urban area of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population): Boone, Marion, North Wilkesboro

Some highlights from the statewide summary relating to the Northwest Region:

  • Population growth in the Northwest Region was the slowest of the state (6.2%).
  • The Northwest Region was the only region with a decreasing labor force (-9.0%) since 2001.
  • The Northwest Region was one of only two zones (with the Western Zone) that did not see average wage increases between 2008 and 2013.
  • The Northwest Region was one of only two zones (with Piedmont-Triad) that were far below their pre-recession levels of employment by the end of 2013.
  • The Northwest Region has the highest concentration of Manufacturing: 27% of private sector employment vs. 14% in the state as a whole.
  • High school graduation rates and community college enrollments are up statewide.

Click here to view the Northwest Zone Regional Snapshot.

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