A report published by Forbes magazine ranks Wilmington low on the list of best cities for manufacturing jobs.
According to the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, the Best Cities for Manufacturing Jobs 2014 List ranks Wilmington 292 out of 357 cities, and 157 out of 199 in the Small Cities category. Wilmington has dropped 12 spots on the Small Cities list since 2013, and 29 spots on the list of all cities.
Several small North Carolina cities had higher rankings on the Small Cities list, including Greenville at 84, Rocky Mount at 128, and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton at 135. Fayetteville came in just below Wilmington at 158.
Over the past year, Wilmington has lost 2.7% of its manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing now accounts for only 7.3 percent of employment locally.
According to Wilmington Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Connie Majure-Rhett from 2002 to 2012, New Hanover County lost nearly 2,000 manufacturing jobs, which accounted for 26% of the manufacturing base in the county.
The Pathways to Prosperity report from Garner Economics, commissioned by the New Hanover County commissioners, suggests Wilmington should target life/marine sciences research and development, high value office operations, and manufacturing industries such as aircraft assembly modification/maintenance, and precision manufacturing for recruitment.
The report was also critical of the New Hanover County Special Use Permit process, which doesn't specify the information that will need to be submitted to get a permit or the timeline to obtain one.
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