Business
6:06 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

The Face of Forsyth County is Changing

Forsyth County is growing in diversity, outpacing some state and national rates. That’s according to a new report released today by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

Economic expert Marci Rossell was the guest speaker at the Winston-Salem Chamber event Tuesday.
Economic expert Marci Rossell was the guest speaker at the Winston-Salem Chamber event Tuesday.
Credit Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce

More than 750 community members attended the Chamber’s State of the Economy Luncheon at the Benton Convention Center Tuesday.  During the event, the Chamber highlighted significant findings from the report titled: Winston-Salem 2013: Celebrating the Centennial. Focusing on the Future.

The report says Forsyth County has become more ethnically and racially diverse.  For example, from 1990-2010 Forsyth County’s Hispanic population grew from 0.8 percent to 11.9 percent, and the number of interracial households increased by more than 60 percent.

Bret Marchant, director of strategic economic development and research for the chamber says, “We are seeing high growth rates in our Hispanic population, Asian population and also in non-traditional family households, couples living together that may not be married. With businesses, it can impact how they sell their services to their customers.”

Marchant says the report also shows how the economy in Forsyth County is changing. Forty years ago, manufacturing accounted for almost 40 percent of total employment in Forsyth County. Today, that figure is less than nine percent. The report says healthcare, education, legal and professional services have increased in recent years. 

Marci Rossell, senior economic advisor at Delphin Investments in Connecticut was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s event. Rossell says a big trend for the next decade will be the re-shoring of manufacturing jobs.  

“For the last 20 years, it made sense for companies to make goods in China and throughout all of Asia and then ship them back to the United States. That calculus is changing, as transportation costs increase and as China gets richer, the competitive wage differential is shrinking, and because of that you are going to see some manufacturing come back. I think this is an area that’s poised to take advantage of it,” says Rossell.

Meanwhile, Rossell says 2013 is the year that most Americans will feel the economic recovery. She says several years of strong stock market performances have helped investors. Rossell says an upswing in the housing market and more confidence in the country’s financial situation will also help people feel the recovery.