Every year, the North Carolina Department of Commerce studies national, statewide, and local economic trends to produce long-term and short-term occupational projections for state and substate areas. Based on historical data, these projections provide a guide for how the state occupational landscape may evolve given the current economic trends. The following projections for the Southwest region have been developed using regional data on occupations. The current projections cover the years 2012 to 2022 for approximately 800 occupations.
With an overall annualized growth rate of 1.3 percent, the Southwest region is expected to add 140,000 positions in the next 10 years, with nearly 40,000 job openings available each year. The region is the second-largest employer in North Carolina, and its annualized growth rate is similar to the Northeast and Southeast regions. In 2012, the top five occupation sectors were Office and Administrative Support, Sales and Related, Food Preparation and Serving Related, Transportation and Material Moving, and Production. In 2022, there is a slight projected structural change — Production occupations may fall out of the top 10 and potentially be replaced by Management occupations. Construction and Extraction sector occupations are expected to grow annually by 2.8 percent — better than the regional average. The median annual wage for Southwest is $34,453, which is higher than the state median of $31,850. Farming, Fishing, and Forestry is the only declining occupation sector for the region from 2012 to 2022. The Top 25 lists of growing and declining detailed occupations are available for viewing and download below.
Southwest Region Data Files