Manufacturing in Catawba County plays a pivotal role in the local economy and has a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. Known for its diverse manufacturing base, Catawba County has established itself as a hub for various industries, contributing significantly to job creation, economic growth, and innovation. Today, 31% of Catawba County’s working population is engaged in manufacturing, which is more than three times the national average of 10%. According to the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), there are over 425 manufacturers in Catawba County employing more than 23,000 workers.
With the textile mills that once defined the region, Catawba County has witnessed the emergence of new manufacturing frontiers. Today, the county is home to a bustling manufacturing scene encompassing automotive, food processing, and many other sectors alongside furniture, and textiles. Notably, the textile industry still thrives, employing approximately 6,000 workers within a 45-minute drive of Catawba County. In this same radius, you will find 4,300 individuals contributing to the motor vehicle and parts manufacturing sector, and 3,200 powering the food processing industry.
A major proponent of manufacturing in Catawba County is the Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC), a nonprofit organization that initially began as a training center affiliated with Catawba Valley Community College. Today, the MSC is on a mission to drive quality, efficiency, product innovation, and job creation. Offering a comprehensive suite of services, includingstandardized testing, product development, training, engineering, and more, the MSC is a vital asset to the local manufacturing ecosystem.
Catawba County’s manufacturing sector stands as a testament to resilience and adaptability, evolving from a history of textile mills to a dynamic, diverse industry that drives economic vitality and community growth. The Manufacturing Solutions Center, along with numerous manufacturers, continues to push the boundaries of innovation and excellence. National Manufacturing Week (Oct 6-13) provides us with an opportunity to celebrate not just an industry but a legacy that is actively shaping our world and creating a promising tomorrow.
National Manufacturing Week is a time to honor the manufacturing industry’s remarkable contributions to Catawba County, North Carolina, and our country. It is a celebration of innovation, job creation, and economic growth. As we reflect on past achievements and look forward to the future, let us remember that manufacturing is not just about making products—it is about shaping the world we live in and building a brighter future for all.