Home Economy You Decide: What Made Today’s North Carolina Economy?

You Decide: What Made Today’s North Carolina Economy?


By Mike Walden

During one of my recent early morning workouts at the local YMCA in Raleigh, I met an impressive young person. He is a senior at NCSU’s textile college. We talked about the textile industry and his occupational goal. I mentioned that the textiles industry was once one of the dominant economic sectors in the state for many decades. That statement surprised him.  

I don’t blame my new friend for not knowing the history of textiles in North Carolina. Most of us focus on today and not the past. And if we do know about the past, it’s the past we’ve lived through. At age 70, I’ve lived through more time than my 20-year-old new friend.

When most people think about history, the focus is on big events like wars, elections and inventions. But equally important – at least in my opinion – is economic history, which tracks changes in industries, companies and occupations.

North Carolina has a long and dynamic…

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