WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce released a scorecard Tuesday that examines how the region's economy stacks up against peer cities.
"The Wilmington Region is exhibiting relatively moderate economic growth, but has transformational opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation," the report states. "Our quality of place has attracted a talented workforce, despite relatively low annual pay and slow per capita income growth."
The report compares the Wilmington region (New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties) to Myrtle Beach, SC; Asheville; Savannah, Ga.; Mobile, Ala.; Roanoke, Va.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Pensacola, Fla. Charleston, SC and Raleigh which were all included as aspirational cities "due to their exceptional growth and ability to maintain quality of place."
The scorecard gives Wilmington high marks for human capital and quality of place, measured by the percent of culture and recreation jobs, healthcare access, crime rate, rush-hour travel times and air quality.
The report found the Wilmington region lags behind in innovative activity and traded sector employment, which is the share of jobs in sectors where products are sold outside the region. Traded sectors include business services, distribution and manufacturing.
"Those are good paying jobs, and we've got to try to figure out better ways to attract those type of industries to our community and to our region," said Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, explaining state incentives will be necessary.