The “North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Profile,” unveiled on May 25 at UNC Pembroke’s Regional Center for Economic, Community, and Professional Development, is a testament to how institutions of higher education work together to support the economic development of the region and state.
UNC Pembroke, Fayetteville State University and UNC Wilmington contributed to the 13th annual edition of the book, which profiles the region for prospective business and industry. The booklet is published by North Carolina’s Southeast, the regional economic development arm of the state headquartered in Elizabethtown, N.C., in Bladen County. It is part of the N.C. Commerce Department’s Partnership for Economic Development.
The 2011 report, which will be available online in June, is smaller than previous years in order to make it a more readable marketing piece, said Sylvia Pate, director of UNCP’s Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development and author of several chapters.
“I’ve contributed to the ‘Regional Profile’ for 10 years,” Pate said. “This is a nice a nice publication, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
According to the profile, the region can boast 1.1 million people, and it is home to 36 Fortune 500 companies, including GE, DuPont, Smithfield Foods and Campbell Soup. The booklet has chapters on demographics, workforce, industry, transportation, business costs, education, and quality of life and provides break-outs on each of the 11 counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, New Hanover, Pender, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson and Scotland.
“This is a tool in the arsenal to market our region,” Pate said. “Of particular note is the new demographic information from the 2010 Census. It is worth noting that construction cost index reveals favorable costs due to excellent labor conditions and good topography.”
North Carolina’s Southeast Director Steve Yost was on hand with NC Southeast’s Board of Directors Chair Jane Smith of Lumberton, N.C. Representing UNCP was Dr. Ken Kitts, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. Kitts praised the long-term commitment of the three universities and acknowledged the importance of the event.
“UNCP is a regional partner in the fullest sense of the term,” he said. “Sylvia Pate’s role as a contributor to the Southeast profile over a long period of time underscores our commitment to enhancing the quality of life in this part of the state.”
Working on the report for Fayetteville State were Drs. Curtis Charles and Inder Nijhawan and for UNC Wilmington, Dr. William Hall Jr.
Dr. Hall researched census data, which showed that the southeast region, during the first decade of the 21st century, grew in population by 6 percent compared to 7.2 percent for North Carolina and 5 percent for the U.S. The region’s fastest growing age group by far is the 65-74 group, which increased by 21 percent over 10 years.
The per capita income in the southeast region is $30,023 vs. the state average of $35,259. Only 1.8 percent of the region’s workforce is employed in agriculture and forestry, but more than 20,000 are employed in the food processing industry. The southeast region exported more than $2 billion in agricultural products.
There is a great deal more information in the “Regional Profile of North Carolina’s Southeast” at www.ncped.com/NCS.html.