How North Carolina's Economy Thrived

This article looks at how North Carolina's economy has evolved over time due to factors such as higher education expansion, business relocation, and alumni presence.

How North Carolina's Economy Thrived

North Carolina's economy has been shaped by a variety of factors over the years. In the 1700s and 1800s, tobacco cultivation was the primary source of income for the state. As the 20th century progressed, the economy shifted from relying on physical labor to utilizing mental strength. This shift was accompanied by an expansion of higher education, which was made possible by the state's strong public university system and low tuition rates.

The late 20th and early 21st centuries saw an increase in business and household relocation, which brought a wealth of talent to North Carolina. This influx of talent has helped the state's healthcare and high-tech industries to thrive. In addition, the UNC System has enabled North Carolina companies to remain competitive in the global economy. The state's unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percent from December to January, making it one of the top states for job growth.

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Emeritus Professor at North Carolina State University, Walden, believes that economic history is just as important as other factors in understanding changes in industries, companies and occupations. In order to further support startups, a joint effort between Carolina's Kickstart Venture Services and Duke University's New Ventures Program created the Entrepreneurial Startup Hub. This hub provides access to a business ecosystem, a joint talent network, and an established database of service providers. Additionally, when domestic banking was approved by Congress in the 1990s, banks in the Carolinas had the experience necessary to expand rapidly.

IndyCare is another example of how Carolina alumni have enriched their home state. Founded by a Carolina alumnus, IndyCare transforms independent pharmacies into collaborative healthcare centers that provide intensive care, screening, diagnosis and holistic support and knowledge on how to be well and stay well. The textile industry was once one of North Carolina's most dominant economic sectors for many decades. However, with 336,300 alumni living across the country and around the world, many have stayed close to home and their presence has helped shape the state's economy.

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