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Johnston County is not only among the fastest-growing regions of North Carolina, but the nation, with a growth rate of between 2.8% and 5.7% according to a county profile published by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. And U.S. Census data shows that Johnston County was the fastest-growing county in the state during the decade between the 2010 Census and the 2020 Census and an estimated growth rate of 4.9% between April 2020 and July 2021.
But even though Johnston County has between 102,000 and 105,000 wage-earners who reside in the county, nearly two-thirds of them commute across the county lines for their job, said Chris Johnson, director of Johnston County Economic Development, in an interview with WRAL TechWire.
“When I’m talking to industry, I note that we’re growing at about 4% annually, which means that we’re adding 8,000-10,000 people each year,” said Johnson. “The future workforce may not actually be living here right now, not yet, but they’re moving here from other places, from all across the United States.”
And all who follow economic development are aware that one of the most important factors for companies during a site selection process, if not the most important, is whether a company will have access to a diverse, skilled talent pool that would live within a reasonable commuting distance of the selected facility.
“When I talk to CEOs,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper at an in-person event at SAS headquarters to kick off MFG Day 2022 earlier this month, “the top three issues are workforce, workforce and workforce.”