Despite COVID-19′s economic hit, some local businesses are thriving

Updated: Mar. 26, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment just last week.

While many in southeastern North Carolina have been hit hard by the economic impacts of the coronavirus, there are some job sectors that are thriving.

Pacon, a manufacturing-based business out of Brunswick County, is looking to hire hundreds of workers.

“We have partnered with one industry in particular that people will be interested in. It’s a company new to the area, they’re going to bring in approximately 250 plus positions. It’s a manufacturing plant located in Brunswick County in Navassa,” said president Michael Youngblood.

The company makes products like disinfecting wipes and surgical drapes — items that are very much in demand right now to help fight COVID-19. Because of this, Youngblood says there is a tremendous opportunity for overtime pay.

“All the interviewing will be done virtually so you don’t have to leave your house, you can do it through your phone, all the information to sign all the legal documents, background reports, the tax filing paperwork, you can do all that without having to leave your house,” he said.

Pacon is looking to fill a range of positions including industrial mechanics, forklift drivers, packers assembly workers, and material handlers.

Even if you do not fit one of the open positions, Youngblood suggests applying anyway, as more jobs become available frequently.

“I like to tell everybody there’s a yin and yang for everything usually there’s an up and a down. Try to find where there’s some strengths. Yes, we are very fortunate to have a new manufacturing plant that comes up and makes products that are so timely right now but there are other things. I would say be open-minded about your job search, be positive and I know it’s tough to be positive nowadays but there still are some things here and I think be receptive to change and to new experiences,” Youngblood said.

UNCW Economics Professor Christopher Dumas compared today’s current economic status to a hurricane.

“Impacts on businesses for our region are similar to a hurricane, but they’re potentially a little bit worse since this pandemic affects the whole country at once, not just a particular region so other regions are less able to come to our aid. For example, everyone wants to hold on to their toilet paper and not share it with us,” he said.

Dumas said the following business sectors are doing well or likely to do well in the coming weeks and months.

  • Companies selling software needed to work at home
  • Online payment companies
  • Online Trading
  • Online petcare companies
  • Cleaning Product Companies
  • Companies that make diagnostic equipment and medical ventilators
  • Commercial Testing Labs
  • Restaurant Delivery Services
  • Grocery Stores
  • Funeral Services

“This is something that is temporary, it will pass, we have a lot of scientists all around the world working on medications, working on vaccines, we will find something. Take advantage of the government programs that have just been passed to help you. Take advantage of unemployment insurance, small businesses take advantage of Small Business Administration loans to try to keep your employees on the payroll and stay at home,” Dumas said.

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