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March 13, 2006

The old versus new economy

There was a time when the North Carolina economy was dominated by the tobacco, textiles, apparel and furniture industries, but their relative importance has declined in recent decades. N.C. State University's Mike Walden looks at the industries that have taken their places.

"People used to call of course tobacco, textiles and apparel together, and furniture, they would call them the big three," says Dr. Walden, a professor and extension specialist with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

"And their relative importance certainly has gone down. It's been cut about in half over the past 30 years.

"What they've been replaced by some people call the new big five. And the big five would include technology, pharmaceuticals, food processing, financial services and vehicle parts.

"You take those five industries in North Carolina together -- their relative importance has actually doubled over the last 30 years.

"So it's really been the growth there that has countered the decline of the old big three," Walden concludes. "And I think this again is indicative of our changing economy, but it also says that there will be new jobs -- there will be these new economic kids on the block -- for North Carolina.

"But clearly they are going to be different than they were in the past."

Posted by deeshore at March 13, 2006 08:00 AM