McDowell Economic Development Association, Inc.

Quality Workforce/Target Industries

McDowell County has an exceptionally motivated, diverse and distinctive workforce.  This community has been known as a center of manufacturing for over a century.  McDowell County consistently ranks in the top three counties in North Carolina with a percentage of workforce employed in manufacturing of 36%.  The State of North Carolina average is 10.7% and the national average is approximately 9% (2014).
McDowell County has  a workforce of 21,201 people and a workforce of 81,664 within a thirty-mile radius.  The population within a thirty-mile radius is 164,221.
The ten largest employers in McDowell County are:
  1. Baxter Healthcare
  2. McDowell County Schools
  3. International Automotive Components
  4. McDowell County Government
  5. The McDowell Hospital
  6. Marion Correctional Facility
  7. Ethan Allen Operations
  8. Coats North American
  9. Columbia Forest Products
  10. West-Rock Company
  11. * Janesville Acoustics
  12. * Crane Resistoflex
  13. * Baldor Electric Company
* Note:  For top ten non-governmental employers omit #2, #4 and #6 and substitute #11, #12 and #13.
The ability of the workforce to embrace new technology and skill requirements is significant.  No matter the need, the workforce of this region will meet the challenge.  In addition, the newly opened Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center will provide your training needs.