Explores Industry Sector Targeting as an important strategic pursuit for the state of North Carolina and estimates the current size, potential for growth, existing concentration and job quality (by wages) of the core functions within identified promising industry sectors.

"This analysis identifies and measures areas of North Carolina’s economy that could potentially be targeted as part of an economic development strategy. The twenty-four sectors analyzed here represent a statewide survey of industries and are, to varying degrees, established, emerging or declining in the North Carolina economy.... Four metrics were used to analyze the relative growth and size of each industry sector in North Carolina. These metrics are common tools economic development analysts use (among many potential measurements) to examine an industry’s relative importance. The four metrics approved by the Economic Development Board for this study were:

1. Current employment

2. Current wages

3. Projected employment changes (2010 – 2020)

4. Location Quotients (for employment), [which compares the regional share of economic activity in a particular industry and subregion (in this case, North Carolina) to its share in a larger region (the United States).]

Once the four variables were calculated, a process of elimination identified the leading industries" (p.2-3). (Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Leading Industry Sectors in the North Carolina Economy: A Criteria Based Approach to Industry Targeting


Major Findings & Recommendations

“[The…] threshold criteria eliminated all but eight industry sectors….. For example, Marine Trades was eliminated because the industry sector did not meet the current employment, location quotient, or projected growth thresholds. Biotech, Financial Services, and Business Headquarters (indicated by a *) were removed because of qualitative factors. The Biotech sector was eliminated because it is regionally concentrated and the Biotechnology Center already exists to support growth of the sector. Business Headquarters and Financial Services were removed because of the challenge in shaping targeted recruitment strategies around them. The four industry sectors that most meet the criteria for this project are: 1. Software & Personal Communication Technology 2. Smart Grid 3. Automotive Transportation Manufacturing 4. Aerospace” (p.3). “Software Development and Personal Communication Technology, Smart Grid, Automotive Transportation Manufacturing, and Aerospace are promising sectors for a targeting strategy in North Carolina.... The list of potential target sectors could be further reduced with asset mapping -- identifying existing strengths and weaknesses in the sector. In addition, the “clustering” potential of these sectors could be analyzed. Clustering analysis looks at the relationships core firms have to other firms along their value chains. Economic development theory suggests regions with clustered firms have a distinct competitive advantage because firms that spatially cluster enjoy cost savings from proximity that can lead to higher productivity and profits” (p.4). (Author: Abstractor and Website Staff)