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New Trends and Top Manufacturing Companies in North Carolina

Posted by IndustrySelect on Thursday, January 14, 2021


Above: North Carolina Lands Triangle's Tyre's First U.S. Manufacturing Plant. Credit: Business Facilities

With its skilled labor pool, low business costs and abundance of shovel-ready sites, North Carolina has wide-ranging appeal for manufacturers. In 2020, a number of new enterprises set up shup in the Tar Heel State, including Eli Lily’s plans to establish a new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Durham County and the establishment of digital fabricator Symmetrix in Statesville.

You can read more about all of the new U.S. manufacturing plants that opened up in 2020 here. But today, we’re focusing on the latest trends in North Carolina’s industrial sector and exploring the state’s ten largest manufacturing companies.

Looking to reach decision makers in the industrial world? Get a live database of industrial contacts, built exactly for what you're selling IndustrySelect gives you live access to detailed information on 460,000 U.S. industrial companies and one million executives. Learn more.

According to data collected by MNI, compiler of the industrial information that powers IndustrySelect, North Carolina is currently home to 10,955 manufacturers employing 612,637 workers. These include some key companies in the, which we’ll explore in a moment. But first, here are some key statistics on the state’s industrial sector based on MNI’s survey of North Carolina manufacturers.

Key Trends in North Carolina’s Manufacturing Sector

According to MNI, Charlotte is North Carolina’s largest city based on manufacturing employment, home to 54,318 workers. This is followed by Greensboro with 30,693 and Raleigh with 17,735 workers.

Read more: Top Manufacturing Cities in the U.S.

Other top cities in North Carolina include

• High Point (15,487 jobs)
• Winston-Salem (15,278 jobs)
• Durham (14,844 jobs)
• Research Triangle Park (14,657 jobs)
• Hickory (11,085 jobs)

Mecklenburg County is North Carolina’s largest county in terms of industrial jobs, home to 65,649 workers. This is followed by Guilford County (53,149), Wake (45,775), Catawba (31,037) and Durham (30,295).

Taking a look at the state’s top industries, food products manufacturing ranks as the state’s largest industrial sector based on number of jobs, employing 66,508. Second-ranked industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 64,952 jobs, while third-ranked transportation equipment manufacturing accounts for 44,605. This is followed by chemicals, with 43,058 jobs and rubber/plastics, with 42,022.

According to IndustrySelect database of 460,000 U.S. industrial companies, there are 71,477 executive contacts among North Carolina's manufacturing companies, including 11,966 presidents, 6,382 owners and partners; 6,337 vice-presidents and 6,119 sales, marketing and purchasing executives.

Other facts to know about North Carolina manufacturers, based on IndustrySelect’s advanced criteria available to subscribers, include ownership, distribution and other trend. Let’s take a look:

• 2% of North Carolina manufacturers are women-owned
• 1% are minority-owned
• 12% are publicly-owned companies
• 13% import raw materials
• 26% distribute their products internationally

Notably, a higher percentage of North Carolina import raw materials to make their products, compared to the national average of 11%. Additionally, the Tar Heel State has a larger percentage of public companies at 12% compared to the national average of 5%.

 North Carolina is home to a number of major companies in the food processing, pharmaceutical and transportation equipment industries. Next, we’ll take a look at the state’s top companies.

Top 10 Manufacturing Companies in North Carolina

IBM Corp.8,000Research Triangle ParkNC
Smithfield Foods, Inc.5,000Tar HeelNC
Fleet Readiness Center East4,000Cherry PointNC
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, LLC3,000WilmingtonNC
Pfizer, Inc.3,000Rocky MountNC
Tyson Foods, Inc.2,540WilkesboroNC
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.2,500TobaccovilleNC
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Fayetteville Plt.2,500FayettevilleNC
Flanders Corp.2,425WashingtonNC
Butterball, LLC2,400Mount OliveNC

About the Top 10 Manufacturing Companies in North Carolina

1. IBM Corporation (Research Triangle Park, NC) 
Headquartered in Armonk, NY, IBM (International Business Machines) dominates the world of computer hardware, middleware and software and also provides consulting services. At their Research Triangle Park location, 8,000 employees work on IBM software, storage systems and systems technology.

2. Smithfield Foods, Inc. (Tar Heel, NC)
Founded in 1936, Smithfield Foods is among the world’s largest pork producer, processing hogs from 2,500 separate U.S. farms. The company’s Tar Heel facility employs 5,000 and processes up to 35,000 hogs per day.

3. Fleet Readiness Center East (Cherry Point, NC) 
The Fleet Readiness Center in Cherry Point is one of eight of the U.S. Navy’s facilities for maintenance and overhaul of naval aircraft, components and equipment. At the Cherry Point site, 4,000 workers produce aircraft parts and rebuilt helicopters.

4. GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, LLC (Wilmington, NC)
GE-Hitachi is a joint effort to serve the world’s nuclear energy industry. At this facility in Wilmington, 3,000 employees make light water reactors for operators of boiling and pressurized water reactors. The facility also works on steam turbines and parts.

5. Pfizer, Inc. (Rocky Mount, NC) 
With 88,000 employees worldwide, Pfizer is among the world largest pharmaceutical companies, made even more famous in 2020 as among the first developers of a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer’s Rocky Mount location focuses on disposable hospital supplier, intravenous solutions and parenterals. Employing 3,000, the facility ranks as North Carolina’s sixth-largest industrial employer.

6. Tyson Foods, Inc. (Wilkesboro, NC) 
Headquartered in Springdale, AR, Tyson Foods is multinational food products company, and ranks as the world’s second largest processor of meat products and produces 20% of all the pork, beef, chicken consumed in the United States. The Wilkesboro site, home to 2,540 workers, focuses on chicken processing and packaging as well as frozen poultry products.

7. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Tobaccoville) 
R.J. Reynolds is the second-largest producer of tobacco in the U.S., founded in Winston Salem in 1875. The Tobaccoville location is the company’s largest facility, occupying 2 million square feet where 2,500 employees process tobacco and produce tobacco products.

8. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Fayatteville, NC) 
Headquartered in Akron, OH, Goodyear Tire & Rubber is among the world’s largest tire manufacturers, making tires for a wide range of vehicles, including trucks, passenger cars, farm equipment, SUVs, motorcycles, construction equipment and more. In 2019, Goodyear’s Fayatteville location announced a major expansion for its larger rim-diameter tire making operation. Goodyear Tire is North Carolina’s 9th largest industrial employer, accounting for 2,500 jobs.

9. Flanders Corp. (Washington, NC)
Flanders Corp. designs and manufactures precision air filtration products. The Washington facility serves as the company’s headquarters, home to 2,425 workers.

10. Butterball, LLC (Mount Olive, NC)
Further demonstrating North Carolina’s stronghold in the food processing industry, Butterball, LLC is a major producer of turkey products, including whole turkey. The Mount Olive, NC facility is the world’s largest turkey plant, processing 17 million turkeys annually. 2,400 employees work at the plant, making it North Carolina’s tenth largest manufacturing facility based on the size of its workforce.

Interested in other states? Browse all of our state news here.

Looking for Industrial Sales Leads in North Carolina?

For those looking to do business with manufacturers, IndustrySelect’s database of 460,000 U.S. manufacturers is a top resource for both developing and researching sales leads in the manufacturing sector. An IndustrySelect subscription can put you on a first-name basis with North Carolina's 10,900 industrial companies and 612,000 executives. Subscribers can select up to 30 data points on any manufacturing company in the U.S. to help identify or pre-qualify leads. Company profiles also include the contact information for hard-to-find executive decision-makers. Try a free demo today




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