WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - “There’s before and there’s after…….”
Those words echoed through the forum of a power breakfast in Wilmington. The tables filled with a who’s who of local commerce, education and government.
The economic outlook conference was titled Smart Cities: Aligning Wilmington to better serve and capitalize on the growing boomer community.
The scorecard looks at how well Wilmington ranks against peer cities in human capital, traded sector jobs, entrepreneurial activity and innovation.
“On a national and global level, we’re not looking at a recession and that’s good,” says president of Wilmington’s Chamber of Commerce, Natalie English. “Locally we have some issues. We have a talent challenge. We’re growing jobs and our unemployment rate is low. We have to figure out how to train them for the jobs we have available and take advantage of the wage growth we’re hearing about today.
“It’s a good morning” says Adam Jones, a regional economist with UNCW’s Cameron School of Business. “This is a story about before and after. Florence came to town and we’re bouncing back.”
Jones also spoke about growth following the recession to a sustainable growth rate of 3.2 percent as the region makes it way back to full employment.
“But there’s this thing called Florence,” Jones said. “In times like this, the thoughts of getting a better job or better match is put on the side burner for a little while. We’ll have a longer delay in the wage growth we’re expecting, but it’s coming.”