Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced Manufacturing


North Carolina’s history of leadership in manufacturing started with tobacco, textiles, and furniture. Our commitment to innovation and state-of-the-art research and educational facilities have not only revolutionized traditional industries, but have also transformed North Carolina into a forward-thinking, knowledge-based economy with the largest advanced manufacturing workforce in the southeastern United States.

#1 largest manufacturing workforce in the southeast31,000+STEM degrees annuallyCNBC Top State for Business 2022, 2023

North Carolina is home to over 250 unique automotive manufacturing companies, including heavy duty truck, body & trailer, engine & transmission, seating & interior trim, electric vehicle batteries, and brake system manufacturing. Backed by this quickly expanding cluster of business, growth in the automotive manufacturing sector has surged 20% since 2011. If you’re looking for a place to open shop, look no further than NC.

Aerospace & Defense

Our state is propelling the future of aerospace and defense. Universities like NC State are spearheading new research into unmanned aerial vehicles, while amazing industry resources, including the NC Advanced Manufacturing Alliance and NextGen Air Transportation Center, are further bolstering the charge. Even better? There are 52 universities and colleges turning out program graduates in aerospace engineering and adjacent specialized studies every semester.


North Carolina’s biotech clusters are truly unrivaled. From breakthrough technologies across life sciences to biopharmaceutical development and clinical research, hundreds of companies are leading the way toward sustained sector growth.

Advanced Materials

With a dense ecosystem in additive manufacturing, technical textiles, coatings, advanced filtration systems, and composites manufacturers, North Carolina is a hotspot in the next wave of industrial materials. The NonWovens Institute at North Carolina State University is a leading collaborator with private industry in this field, exploring advanced material applications in all sectors.

Plastics & Chemicals

North Carolina’s 75,000+ jobs in plastic and chemical manufacturing make up the sixth-largest industry workforce in the U.S. And with an industry concentration 1.5 times the national average, the state represents a prime location for new investment.

Food Manufacturing

North Carolina is home to 1,200+ food and beverage manufacturing establishments. The industry includes a variety of thriving clusters, including agriculture, confectionary production, and one of the largest animal processing clusters in the nation. 21 of the 50 largest food & beverage companies in North America have operations in North Carolina.

Clean Energy

North Carolina is at the forefront of transitioning to a clean energy economy. Through legislation and bold action, the state has diversified its energy resource mix to include sustainable, low-cost energy sources. Learn more about North Carolina’s commitment to clean energy.


“We have a fantastic workforce that really understands the transformation going on as more companies get connected and digitalize their manufacturing processes.”

– Vicki Holt, Former Proto Labs CEO

Industry Support

We are 4.8 million people strong. Our workforce can supply you with manufacturing power and highly educated engineering prowess. North Carolina is home to more than 47,000 engineers, as well as the fourth largest active duty and reservist military population in the country, many of whom specialize in aerospace propulsion and ground equipment.
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Over 200 leading companies are spread across the state, meaning you can purchase equipment just a short drive from your facilities. Once you’re ready to go to market, access to customers is made easy thanks to North Carolina’s prime location on the eastern seaboard. With four international airports, two deepwater seaports and extensive railways and interstates, our unparalleled infrastructure can help you accelerate your growth.
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In North Carolina, you’ll find incredible resources and access to talent — but for up to 34% less than you’d spend in competitor states. Here, aerospace wages are about 18% below the national average, state taxes are low, electricity is inexpensive, and aviation gasoline/jet fuel are exempt from state sales tax, meaning you can go further for less.
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North Carolina’s targeted, performance-based incentive programs help companies that are locating and doing business in North Carolina by lessening the tax burden and lowering overall costs to the company.
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