Our region has been known for manufacturing since 1902, when Hickory White was built, and began manufacturing furniture. The first cable manufacturing plant was built in 1953. Historically, the majority of our labor force worked in manufacturing, and a large, skilled workforce exists.

While it is no longer the majority of our workforce, many people still work in the field today. Manufacturing at large employs 21,000 people in Hickory alone. Furniture is still the largest manufacturing sector, but others are still quite strong. 40%-60% of the world’s fiber optic cable is made in this area. Corning, Commscope and Draka Americas all produce this cable. Food and textile manufacturing remains strong, as does paper, plastic, and metal manufacturing.

The area has the infrastructure to support many companies, and fulfill their manufacturing needs. Local governments have focused on attracting more manufacturing companies to our area, with success. Our skilled labor force, and available manufacturing real estate attract new businesses each year.

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