Welcome Back: The return of manufacturing in Davidson County

Sharon Myers
The Dispatch February 23, 2021
Twenty years ago, Davidson County was going through one of its worst economic periods as it watched its major industry pick up and move overseas, leaving massive job loss and economic chaos in its wake.

Since before the turn of the 20th century, North Carolina has been known as an area where furniture and textile plants plentifully peppered the region; created generations of families working for the same company, and was a major revenue source for local government.

In 1990, over 8,800 people were employed in Davidson County in furniture manufacturing and over 4,700 people were employed in textile manufacturing. By 2009, less than 1,600 local furniture jobs remained and less than 450 remained in textiles.

Since this devastating economic tailspin, local governments and other community partners have focused their sites on supporting the recovery of manufacturing in Davidson County to its previous level.

But this kind of manufacturing is not your grandfather’s assembly line production. The advanced manufacturing of today takes training, education, and companies willing to invest in potential employees.

But to know the future of manufacturing, you have to know where it came from and how things have changed.