American industry's history is mirrored in the economic growth and development of Gaston County.
Although Gaston County is one of the nation's largest textile producers, the economic growth of the county has diversified.
Primary growth has come from companies manufacturing industrial and automotive machinery, machine components and other products. Financial Services has also been a growth area in Gaston. Recently setup in the area is EMS a financial services company focused on the credit card processing industry. Gaston County is home to more machine shops than the rest of the state combined.
Gaston County's stable and productive work force makes the area attractive
to many firms.
There are three railroads: Norfolk & Southern Railway, CSX and Amtrak.
Major highways include Interstate 85, U.S. 29, U.S. 74 and U.S. 321. Fifty-seven motor freight carriers serve Gaston County. Bus service is available in Gastonia.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport has 517 scheduled commercial departures daily and 8.4 million passenger boarding a year. It is served by six major and four commuter airlines. Gastonia also has a Municipal Airport.
THE LATEST EMPLOYMENT FIGURES show a labor force of more than 99,000 with nearly 95,660 of those employed.
Of the more than 5,000 job applicants in 1994, more than 4,000 had substantial experience to offer an employer.
North Carolina is also attractive to employers because it is a "right to work" state. In Gaston County, less than one-half of one percent of the manufacturing work force is unionized.
There are about 3,700 industries in Gaston County with an average annual employment of about 80,259 and average annual wage per worker of more than $21,500. About 3,200 of those were non-manufacturing firms, employing more than 44,500. More than 470 were manufacturing, with an average employment of more than 36,000 and average annual wage of more than $23,800.
There are 13 Fortune 500 firms with 20 locations in the county.
Agriculture is a significant industry in Gaston County. Estimated income for 1993 was $15,846,323.
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The Gaston Chamber of Commerce
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Gaston Gazette, The Shelby Star.
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