Business & Industry

Business & Industry of Carteret County Economic Development

Continued Economic Diversificiation

The economy of Carteret County and North Carolina’s Eastern Region continues to expand and diversify. Cooperative regional economic development efforts have provided a spectrum of employment opportunities for residents. Aggressive marketing programs are attracting significant interest from manufacturing companies, port-related logistics operations, office based/information service sector and technology, research and development firms.

2017 Employers by Industry Sector

Sector/CompanyPart TimeFull Time
Open Grounds Farm721
Marshallberg Farms and Aquaculture06
Bally Refrigerated Boxes, Inc.1201
Atlantic Veneer Corporation0166
Veneer Technologies Inc.0136
SPX Flow Technology087
Frank Door Company251
Beaufort Composite Technologies010
Jarrett Bay Boatworks13130
Parker Marine Enterprises63
Gregory Poole Marine Power322
Jones Brothers Marine Manufacturing020
Shearline Boatworks014
Moores Marine Yacht Center010
Carteret General Hospital247775
Harborview Healthcare3584
Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc.0140
Carolinas Center for Surgery0102
Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay3549
CarolinaEast Heart Center018
NOAA Beaufort Lab087
Duke University Marine Lab
University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences759
N.C. State University Center for Marine Science & Technology (CMAST)819
National Weather Service, Newport/Morehead City022
Big Rock Sports, LLC187
Port of Morehead City (NC DOT)050
Transportation Management Experts (TMX Shipping)421
Transportation Impact 042
Time Warner Cable0DID NOT RESPOND
Carteret Publishing1532
NC Coast Communications213
Lowes Home Centers Inc.138159
Harris Teeter082
Food Lion12050
Belk Inc.5654
Lowes Food Stores Inc.12666
Hobby Lobby1112
Big Lots135
North Carolina Aquarium3056
Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center3535
Cape Lookout National Park Service2033
North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort19
The Inn at Pine Knoll

Source: 2013 NC Commerce Division of Employment Security; Carteret Economic Development Council

2017 Top 30 Employers

#CompanyPart TimeFull Time
1Carteret County Public Schools281026
2Carteret General Hospital247775
3NC Department of Transportation116
4Carteret County Government161386
5United States Coast Guard70300
6Wal-Mart Associates Inc124224
7Bally Refrigerated Boxes1201
8Lowes Home Centers Inc138159
9 Carteret Community College217156
10Atlantic Veneer0166
11Town Of Morehead City35159
12Bluewater Real Estate1993
13NC Dept of Environment And Natural Resources0119
14Veneer Technology0136
15Jarrett Bay Boatworks13130
16NOAA Beaufort Lab087
17Harborview Healthcare3584
18Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc.0140
19Big Rock Sports, LLC187
20Bojangles Famous Chicken & Biscuits87
21United States Post Office080
22The Inn at Pine Knoll Shores2445
23Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative070
24 Food Lion12050
25Snug Harbor On Nelson Bay3549
26Duke University Marine Lab362
27Belk Inc5654
28Town of Emerald Isle8657
29 McDonalds5657
30DoubleTree Hotel & Conference Center3535

Source: 2014 NC Commerce Division of Employment Security; Carteret Economic Development Council

Business and Industry Clusters


Military - Carteret Economic DevelopmentThe military has a very significant impact on the economy of Carteret County and Eastern North Carolina. In fact, Fleet Readiness Center East (FRC East), located in Craven County aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (MCAS), has grown to become eastern North Carolina’s largest industrial employer and a key military asset. Cherry Point operations employs 9,061 military and 5,171 civilians…a total workforce of almost 14,000. During the Fiscal Year 2015, FRC East and MCAS Cherry Point salaries totaled were $1.215 billion. Contracts awarded to North Carolina companies reached over $72.5 million in 2015 and have and estimated total economic impact for the state of over $2.01 billion.

FRC EAST and MCAS Cherry Point are the leading employers of Carteret County residents with 1,369 civilian employees and 557 active duty military employees. The county is home to 4,476 family members of active duty military, retired military and civilian employees. Active military and retired personnel, civilian employees and their families total 9,991 county residents, 14.5% of the County’s population.

In addition, nearby Camp Lejeune, located in Onslow County, has a complement of 56,547 active duty Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy personnel and over 15,000 civilians.

Military Corps Air Statin (MCAS), Cherry Point

MCAS - Carteret Economic DevelopmentCongress authorized Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point on July 9, 1941 with a primary World War II mission of training units and individual Marines for service in the Pacific theater. The air station also served as a base for anti-submarine operations, with an Army Air Corps and Navy unit each being responsible for the sinking of a German U-boat just off the North Carolina coast during 1943. Today, Harrier, Prowler and KC-130 squadrons continue to answer the call for air support in the war-fighting effort. In addition, Cherry Point is home to Marine Transport Squadron 1, which includes the well-known search and rescue unit affectionately referred to as “Pedro.” In addition to its military search and rescue duties, Pedro also serves the local community with its medical evacuation and search and rescue capabilities.

MCAS Cherry Point is known as one of the best all weather jet bases in the world. Its runway system is so large that the air station served as an alternate emergency landing site for space shuttle launches. The air station and its associated support locations occupy more than 29,000 acres in Craven County, just to the north of the Carteret County line. The 875-acre Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, located along Bogue Sound in the western end of Carteret County, serves as the only East Coast site for Field Carrier Landing Practice.

As a testimony to the Station’s on-going quality of life initiatives and responsible community outreach efforts, MCAS Cherry Point received the Commander-In-Chief’s Installation Award for fiscal year 2003 and the Station has claimed the title an unprecedented seven out of the last 15 years.

Fleet Readiness Center East (FRC East)

Fleet Readiness - Carteret Economic DevelopmentFleet Readiness Center East also began operations during World War II as the Assembly and Repair Department at MCAS Cherry Point when it opened in 1943 to service Corsair fighters and Mitchell B-25 and Marauder B-26 bombers. Today FRC EAST’s Engineering and Product Support facility is one of three U.S. Navy depots under the Naval Air Systems Command, which is headquartered in Patuxent River, Maryland. This modern industrial complex employs civilians and defense contractors, in addition to military personnel, in a wide range of engineering, technical and administrative positions. The facility is the Department of Defense Vertical Lift Center of Excellence and continues to provide engineering, maintenance and logistics support on a variety of aircraft, engines and components for all branches of the United States Armed Forces.

Source: Command Analysis and Review Office, MCAS, Cherry Point.

ACT – Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow

Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow (ACT) advocates for the existence and success of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Fleet Readiness Center East and its civilian enterprises.


United States Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Station Fort Macon

Coast Guard - Carteret Economic DevelopmentIn 1904, the Treasury Department received permission from the War Department to build a lifesaving station on the Fort Macon Military Reservation in Atlantic Beach, NC. The Lifesaving Service later combined with the Lighthouse Service to form the United States Coast Guard as it is known today.

USCG Station Fort Macon, still occupying the same 22.6 acres of land, serves as a training base for Search and Rescue cases and Law Enforcement situations when not actually involved in them. The training and everyday maintenance can vary drastically from maintaining boats, to assisting a vessel up to 50 nautical miles offshore in 30 foot seas and 50 knot winds. On average Station Fort Macon accomplishes 1,000 boardings of recreational and commercial boats annually and performs 300 Search and Rescue cases annually.


Tourism - Carteret Economic Development

Crystal Coast tourism is a major component of the Carteret County economy creating over 3,330 jobs with an annual payroll of $61.75 million in 2015. Tourism and travel in 2015 generated $336.96 million dollars in revenue, which is a 3.77% increase over 2014…placing the County in the top 17 in North Carolina.

The state and local tax revenues from travel and tourism amounted to $34.93 million and represented a $507 tax savings to each county resident. Total net occupancy tax collections (a 6%) for the fiscal year 2016 equaled $6,800,842.

In addition, the county received $3,439,425 for beach nourishment and the Carteret County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) received $3,439,425. The North Carolina General Statute for Carteret County’s occupancy tax required a change in the distribution starting January, 2014 to 50% for the beach nourishment and 50% for the Tourism Development Authority.

Source: North Carolina Department of Commerce; Carteret County Finance Office

Marine Trades

Marine Trades - Carteret Economic Development

Carteret County, with over 27 boat builders and manufacturers and 80 marinas and docks, is home to one of the largest industrial clusters of marine related businesses on the East Coast. The boat building industry alone has an annual payroll of over $5.5 million.

North Carolina has traditionally ranked among the country’s top ten seafood-producing states. Nearly 1,850 commercial fishermen in Carteret County make their living from North Carolina’s coastal and estuarine waters. North Carolina fishermen follow state and federal regulations that sustain the fisheries of the rivers, sounds and oceans as a food source for people.

SectorAnnual Payroll
Ship and Boat Building$6,660,936
Support Services for Water Transportation$2,820,261
Scenic/Sightseeing Transportation, Water$453,345
Other Amusement & Recreation Industries (Marinas included) $10,746,411

Source: NC Emp. Security, NC and NC Div. of Marine Fisheries

Marine Trades - Carteret Economic Development

Carteret Country Seafood Landings 2001-2012

Seafood Landing - Carteret Economic Development

Marine Science

Marine Science - Carteret Economic Development

The Duke University Marine Lab, the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences, the North Carolina State University Center for Marine Science and Technology (CMAST) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, anchors the marine science cluster in Carteret County. The four institutions have 162,645 sq. ft. of marine research facilities and 40 individual laboratories. Marine science in Carteret County accounts for over $58 million in revenue and over 500 employees.

The cluster provides a range of extensive capabilities and research services in the following areas:

  • Forecasting Ecological Effects and Resource Change

  • Climate and Pollution Impacts on Coastal Communities

  • Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Science

  • Marine Geospatial Analysis

  • Marine Megafauna

  • Marine Ecology

North Carolina Center for Biotechnology and the new Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation (MBCOI) together with the 24-member Marine Science Education Partnership (MSEP) and Carteret Community College’s Aquaculture Program will explore opportunities to develop new food, fuel and health products from the state’s rich Atlantic coast.

In addition, the North Carolina Maritime Museum and the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores feature 117,000 sq. ft. of museum space and aquarium facilities that host over 405,000 visitors annually. The Queen Anne’s Revenge (Blackbeard’s infamous flagship recently recovered off Shackleford Banks) Exhibit is housed at the Maritime Museum while the 3,000 lb anchor of the ill-fated vessel has a new home at the QAR Conservation Lab at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Source: Center for Competitive Economics – Kenan Institute, University of North Carolina

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