November 30, 2022
State releases Bladen County industry sector report

State releases Bladen County industry sector report

ELIZABETHTOWN — Jobs in the Manufacturing sector led the list of Bladen County employers, according to the most recent Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages released on Friday by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Jobs in Public Administration, Educational Services, Health Care and Retail Trade rounded out the top five employment sectors in Bladen County.

During the first quarter of 2022, Manufacturing (6,524 jobs), Educational Services (871) and Public Administration (901) commonly lead the quarterly list of employers.

A recent article in “Business North Carolina Magazine” included several Bladen County businesses in its Proven Performers list, including Bojangles, House of Raeford, Prestage Farms, Goldsboro Milling, Sampson Bladen Oil Company, Hog Slat, Hardee’s and Murphy Farms.

The list illustrates the kind of employers found in the Commerce Depart’s quarterly census.

Another financial report released last week — the monthly unemployment report — helps illustrate the condition of the job market in Bladen County.

The state report showed that the county’s unemployment rate dropped from 5% in June to 4.5% in July. Bladen County was among all other counties in the state that saw a decline in the jobless rate.

Additionally, Bladen County showed one of the lowest jobless rates among its closest neighbors, including Columbus, 4.5%, Cumberland, 5.6%, Robeson, 6.2%. Nearby Scotland County showed the highest unemployment rate (7.6) in July, but still improved from June’s 7.9% unemployment rate.

The Accommodation and Food Services sector, which employs almost 3% of the county’s workforce saw a substantial increase in consumer spending in the last year.

According to information posted in mid-August by the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, County spending in the tourism sector increased by 54.3% to $56.95 million.

“Domestic and international visitors to and within Bladen County spent $56.95 million in 2021, an increase of 54.3% from 2020,” the report stated. “The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.”

Elizabethtown – White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Dennison said tourism spending has well surpassed pre-COVID numbers.

“Our significant increase can be attributed to the large local investments in our tourism properties, the promotion of outdoor recreation through the Mother Nature’s Playground campaign and a renewed interest in everyone working together to bring tourists to our area,” Dennison said.

Related to the tourism sector, the chamber’s report stated that tourism directly employs more than 248 people in Bladen County. Total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Bladen County was $10.4 million and the state tax revenue generated in Bladen County totaled $2.5 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $1.9 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses.

These statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2021,” which can be accessed at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association, according to the Chamber’s report.

Additionally, statewide information showed that visitor spending in 2021 rebounded by 44.9% to reach $28.9 billion. Following the devastating pandemic-related losses of 2020, the total fell just short of the record $29.22 spent in 2019. Direct tourism employment increased 10.5 percent to 197,500, the report stated.

“These findings are something that everyone in North Carolina can celebrate,” said Visit NC Director Wit Tuttell. “They’re a testament to the resilience of our businesses and our residents, and to the enduring appeal of destinations that include everything a traveler might want. The economic well-being of the state and all its communities rises with the pleasures travelers find in the natural beauty of our public spaces, our culinary traditions and innovation, our remarkable towns and our spirited cities. North Carolina can claim it all.”

State releases Bladen County industry sector report