Local News

Edgecombe Economy Making Swift Turn Around

Posted Updated
Tracey Harper, Employee
TARBORO — Just two years ago, it seemed like Edgecombe County couldn't convince companies to stay in business. Lately, that trend has reversed withcompany after company coming to the area.

Tracey Harper grew up in Edgecombe County. Thanks to new incomingbusinesses like an electronics plant, he can afford to stay.

"It's a good job," Harper explains. "It's a nice start. The company isbrand new. It's a good place for a young person getting out of school tostart."

The company that hired Harper just moved to town last year. It's part ofan invasion of new businesses now turning around Edgecombe County'sfinancial future.

Just two years ago, plant closings and mergers put thousands of peopleout of work. Now, new employers are moving in, attracted to availablebuildings and workers.

"When you're recruiting industry, unemployment becomes a positive," saysChairman Charlie Harrell of the Edgecombe Board of Commissioners, "and sothat has gotten the attention of a lot of people. We've also had someavailable buildings and plant closings."

But, county leaders are quick to point out that aggressive marketing andtax incentives helped turn the tide so quickly.

"We now, for every job that's created in Edgecombe County, can offer acompany a $12,500 dollar tax credit," says economic developer OppieJordan. "That's a tax now, not a giveaway."

The jobless rate is dropping slowly, but will decline more quickly as thenew companies start to hire. Business leaders believe that as theeconomic climate improves, so will the quality of life around here.

"I do believe that's what it all boils down to," Jordan say, "believing inyourself. And they believe in themselves now, and we're not going to stop. We're going to keep going."

The number of new businesses should improve Edgecombe County's unemployment rate, which is the third worst in North Carolina at 7.8%. That's more than twice the unemployment rate for the entire state.

For the record, Swain County has the state's highest unemployment rate, while Orange County has the lowest at an amazing 1.4%.

Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.