ELIZABETHTOWN — Manufacturing jobs topped the list of Bladen County employers, according to the latest quarterly census of jobs and wages released Friday by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Jobs in public administration, educational services, health care, and retail round out Bladen County’s top five employment sectors.
During the first quarter of 2022, manufacturing (6,524 jobs), educational services (871) and public administration (901) generally top the quarterly list of employers.
A recent article in “Business North Carolina Magazine” included several Bladen County companies in its list of proven performers, including Bojangles, House of Raeford, Prestage Farms, Goldsboro Milling, Sampson Bladen Oil Company, Hog Slat, Hardee’s, and Murphy Farms. .
The list illustrates the type of employers found in the Commerce Department’s quarterly census.
Another financial report released last week – the Monthly Unemployment Report – helps illustrate the state of the Bladen County labor market.
The state report showed the county’s unemployment rate rose from 5% in June to 4.5% in July. Bladen County was among every other county in the state that saw a drop in the unemployment rate.
Additionally, Bladen County had one of the lowest unemployment rates among its closest neighbors, including Columbus, 4.5%, Cumberland, 5.6%, Robeson, 6.2%. The neighboring county of Scotland posted the highest unemployment rate (7.6) in July, but still improved from the unemployment rate of 7.9% in June.
The accommodation and food services sector, which employs nearly 3% of the county’s workforce, has seen a substantial increase in consumer spending over the past year.
According to information released in mid-August by the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, county spending on tourism increased 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% over 2020,” the report said. “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 significantly exceeded pre-COVID numbers.
“Our significant increase can be attributed to significant local investment in our tourist properties, the promotion of outdoor recreation through the Mother Nature’s Playground campaign, and renewed interest in all those working together to attract tourists. in our area,” Dennison said.
Tied to the tourism sector, the chamber report says tourism directly employs more than 248 people in Bladen County. The 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 from tourism taxes. sales and state excise and personal and corporate income taxes. Approximately $1.9 million in local taxes was generated from business sales and property tax revenues generated and supported by travel.
These statistics come from “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2021,” accessible at partners.visitnc.com/economic-impact-studies. The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in conjunction with the US Travel Association, according to the Chamber report.
Additionally, statewide information showed visitor spending in 2021 rebounded 44.9% to $28.9 billion. Following devastating 2020 pandemic-related losses, the total fell just below the record high of $29.22 spent in 2019. Direct tourism employment rose 10.5% to 197,500, according to the report.
“These discoveries are something everyone in North Carolina can celebrate,” said Wit Tuttell, director of Visit NC. “They are a testament to the resilience of our businesses and our residents, and the enduring appeal of destinations that include everything a traveler could want. The economic well-being of the state and all of its communities increases with the delights travelers find in the natural beauty of our public spaces, our culinary traditions and innovations, our remarkable cities, and our vibrant cities. North Carolina can claim it all.