On August 31, 2020, the Alliance in partnership with the COVID-19 Business Task Force hosted a Town Hall meeting with senior leadership from the community's manufacturing sector. Dr. Michael Walden, an eocnomist and faculty member with North Carolina State University provided an a broadbased update on the statewide impact. Prior to the meeting Alliance staff sent an online survey to participants in an effort to provide a live review of how the pandemic and statewide restrictions are impacting local manufacturers. Highlights from the meeting are below.
Observations For Transylvania County (Dr. Walden):
- Prior to Covid (March 2020) the labor market was tight in almost all sectors
- Covid-19 restrictions led to job losses in primarily the hospitality and retail sector
- Most “essential” businesses including manufacturing employers saw (and are seeing) an increase in sales and employment
- At last report Transylvania had the 3rd lowest unemployment rate in the State (6.6%). The regional average is 9.2%.
- Feb, 2020 there were 14000 workers in Transylvania County
- April, 2020 / 12500 (11% decrease / 17% NC)
- June, 2020 / 13000 (10% Increase / 8.4% NC)
Recap of recent survey of Transylvania County Manufacturers:
The Alliance surveyed manufacturers in Fall, 2020 (12 responses from 30 surveyed businesses)
- 92% (11 of 12) reported no reduction in workforce
- 62% (8) reported increased sales (Jan-July)
- 54% (7) increased headcount
- 62% (8) Currently hiring
Transylvania County’s manufacturing sector continues to work hard to navigate the current global health crisis and the rapidly evolving economic conditions. Based on the survey responses which received the local industrial sector has shown signs of resiliency which is a tribute in part, we think, to the hard work of local employers and their teams who moved quickly to pivot their business practices.