Let’s Go To Work

In 2009, a Gallup Poll named the Greater Hickory Metro Area the second best place in the country for “Work Environment”.  Our workforce is 170,500 strong, and 95% of local employers rate their workers’ productivity as good or excellent.

Furniture and fiber optic cable manufacturing have long been our strongest sectors. The furniture industry is known world-wide, and we produce 40% of the world’s fiber optic cable. Manufacturing provides 20,000  jobs to the area. A skilled workforce exists.

Retail is  thriving industry, with many stores and several thriving shopping districts spread across the region. Shoppers have a wide variety of stores to choose from, including many national chains, mixed with a growing number of locally owned shops. The Hickory Furniture Mart alone has over 100 furniture stores, and has 500,000 visitors a year. We also have many national chains, including Best-Buy, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and many more.

Health Care:
Health care is a thriving sector in the region.  We have two award-winning hospitals. Catawba Valley Medical Center just received their third consecutive Distinguished Hospital Award from  the JD Power and Associates. Health Grades,the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, says that  Frye Regional Medical Center was rated the best hospital in the state, and among the top 5% nationally for Cardiac Surgery. Both of these hospitals, along with the many doctors and practices, make up an important part of our economy.

Education is also a large sector of employment. The Hickory, Newton, Conover region offers several education and  workforce training institutes:  Lenoir-Rhyne University, the North Carolina Center for Engineering TechnologiesThe Appalachian State University Greater Hickory Partnership andCatawba Valley Community College. The area also has many school systems, with 3 in Catawba County alone.  An average of 5,000 people are employed locally as teachers, professors, or other education careers.

The Food Industry:

As the 4th largest MSA in the state, the food industry is thriving. There are many different types of grocery stores, and restaurants of virtually every type. The food service industry employs 6,000 in Catawba County.

Customer Service Centers:
Call centers employ a large number of people. This is particularly exciting as two of the large call centers are new, and brought 1,000 jobs. Convergys is preparing to hire 120 employeesFiserv worked with Catawba Valley Community College to ensure that their future employees had the training and knowledge they needed. They also went to great trouble to ensure a pleasant working environment for their employees.

Data Centers:
Our region has recently focused on Data Centers. We are becoming known as “The Data Corridor”. Apple and Google have recently moved into large Data Centers in the area, and have provided many jobs.

Economic Development CorporationAttracting New Businesses:
New businesses are continuously moving to the area. Our local government understands the need for new businesses, and provides many incentives for new companies to be located here.   The result has been a reduction of our unemployment rate, and new opportunities for all of our citizens.

The Catawba County Economic Development site is very helpful, and has an abundance of information about employment in this region. The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce is also an excellent source of information about the employers, opportunities and workforce available in the area.