Considered the second largest financial district in the country, Charlotte has always been home to a variety of business opportunities. Employment in Charlotte has ranged from working for the Wachovia Corporation as well as Bank of America, two financial powerhouses. NASCAR has also provided a healthy chunk of local jobs, including positions for teams, drivers, and the entire motorsports industry.
A variety of other industries have played a role in Charlotte employment. From retail to law, child care to finance, a variety of opportunities exist in what Fortune magazine deems some of the best places to work in America.
Some of the industries may come as a surprise. Starbucks, for example, is considered to be a good place to work by Forbes. It has a strong presence in Charlotte and provides health insurance for workers seeking even part time jobs. Other notable companies to work for in the Charlotte area include CarMax, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Men’s Warehouse, and Mariott International.
That said, today the area remains affected by unemployment like any other—and in some cases, worse. While some employers are witnessing business perk up, they’re still slow to hire new employees just yet, waiting for sure signs of stability before risking more checks to pay. September’s employment rate showed stagnation more than anything else, and while the area generally employs 750,000 people, only 340 new jobs were added.
Total unemployment in the city considered one of the most prosperous in the nation is at 12%, well above the average nationwide. Charlotte’s school systems have been hit particularly hard, resulting in a layoff of more than 1,000 employees this year alone. The number of people served by soup kitchens has increased by 22%.
Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities of Charlotte, says, “Economists are the only people saying the recession is over. Consumers haven’t seen it yet.” He does predict that the economy will grow by nearly 4% during the fourth quarter.
Still, layoffs are slowing, and unemployment is slightly lower than in previous months. Recovery after the loss of 25,000 jobs last year—and 30,000 so far this year—will indeed take time. Many economists believe that the unemployment rate in Charlotte has peaked and will dip no further; still, nothing is set in stone just yet.