Local News

Wilson's Economy Growing as Jobs Move In

Posted August 25, 2006 2:24 a.m. EDT

— Just about everywhere you turn in Wilson, there are signs of growth.

As census numbers decline in surrounding counties, the population in the city and in nearby areas in Wilson County is growing by an average of about 600 people a year. And within the past few years, the area has grown economically, too.

Economic developers worked to bring in several large manufacturing companies.

"In the last 12 months, we've had about $100 million of investment in the community and about 700 jobs created," said Jennifer Lantz with Wilson Economic Development.

Local leaders credit good infrastructure and proximity to Interstate 95 and the new U.S. Highway 64 bypass that brings the Triangle even closer.

There are new retail businesses, and more are on the way. Several stores in Wilson's newest shopping center are nearly complete.

In 2004, Policom, a company that studies local economies, ranked Wilson 115th in the nation for economic strength among cities with 10,000 to 50,000 people. Wilson jumped to 62nd last year and hit 13th in the nation this year --the highest ranking in North Carolina.

"I think the future is extremely bright," said Wilson city manager Grant Goings. "I think we've done a lot to prepare for the future."

That includes building more apartments and new homes of all sizes.

Local leaders say there are still challenges ahead, but there are many signs Wilson is moving in the right direction.