Free Enterprise Staff  | October 1, 2015

Wilmington, North Carolina: The Dark Horse of the State Economy

With its strong economy and job markets, Wilmington, North Carolina, is the dark horse of the state’s small business economy. It’s also the next stop in our ongoing #SiliconCitiesUSA tour.

Though the Raleigh-Durham area might garner a lot of media attention, Wilmington is just as deserving of the limelight. Situated right on the Atlantic Coast, the city boasts a diversified economy and the kind of natural beauty that landlocked regions envy.

Wilmington’s unemployment rate currently sits at 5.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet policy and business leaders continue to aggressively court new businesses, as they work together to try to further stoke economic growth. What industries, then, have a stronghold here? Aviation, for starters.

Wilmington is a hub of aviation manufacturing, thanks in large part to General Electric, which has long had a presence in surrounding Hanover County. The city is also popular among pharmaceutical companies, with PPD, PMG and AAIPharma acting as major employers in the region.

These types of prestigious companies are drawn to Wilmington thanks to its educated workforce and its favorable tax and regulatory policies. Businesses benefit from a favorable tax framework and the combined power of the region’s private and public sectors, officials from which routinely collaborate to create programs that will help ensure the region’s future growth.

Have we piqued your interest? Stay tuned over the course of this month, as we take a deep dive into Wilmington and all it has to offer.

What is #SiliconCitiesUSA?

Over the course of this year, we’re exploring how entrepreneurs and businesses are faring in non-major U.S. cities, beginning with Des Moines, Iowa. We’ll be reporting on the ground from each city, talking with elected officials and business leaders about how they’re harnessing their unique resources and local talent to fuel economic growth and better compete against more established urban centers like San Francisco and New York City.