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Who Is The Largest Employer In Carteret County NC? Government And Business Information

In this article we are going to focus on who the current largest employer is in Carteret County NC in 2020, and also encourage readers to engage in us discussions about who they think will be the largest looking 15 years down the road. Is it government, traditional businesses, or tourism? What could change this landscape?

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Furthermore, we ask that you share this article with others on social media sites like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook so that other interested parties in government, business, and tourism can have their say on who they think the current largest employer is in the county, and what the future of Carteret County NC jobs looks like.

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When people think of Carteret County and municipalities such as Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, and Harkers Island, it’s likely they consider that we are a big tourism dependent area and that is true. And while there are a lot of tourism based employers, businesses, and jobs in the area, the numbers of people employed at these businesses simply do not add up to our top five. Now, if you wanted to group all tourism businesses together, then certainly tourism will be the top industry in the county and the largest contributor to the local economy.

But in this article we are focusing on specific businesses, organizations, industries, and municipalities.

  1. Carteret County Schools – With over 1000+ employees ranging from central office administrators, each school administrators, teachers, psychologist, nurses, and many other ancillary staff, the Carteret County School system is our top largest employer in the county.
  2. Carteret Health Care – With over 600 employees, this one may be a shocker compared to our number three employer, but you have to remember employees of the hospital are not just located on the grounds of the hospital. Many specialty groups that are employees of Carteret Health Care have offices elsewhere in the county but are technically employed by the system.
  3. Carteret County Government – With just over 500 employees ranging from law enforcement, jail workers, tax office workers, and other county offices, the central government offices take our third spot.
  4. Carteret Community College – With just over 400 employees, this higher education system has grown considerably over the past decade and looks to continue to grow.
  5. Walmart – With just over 150 employees, Walmart is the only private business in our list of top 5 largest employers.

It should be noted that MANY people in our area work at Cherry Point and if this military installation was physically located within our boundaries, it would at least make the top 3.

Local Jobs

Other notable businesses in the area include Big Rock Sports, Lowes Foods and Lowes Home Improvement, McDonalds, Atlantic Veneer, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, and Parker Boats. And, of course municipal offices in Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport, and Atlantic Beach are top mentions.


When thinking about what the county will look like in the future, especially given the Interstate 42 project and exponential growth at Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune, we estimate that while industries will grow and the population will grow, we don’t see much changes happening at the employer level.

In 15 years, we still see tourism being the largest industry, with the Carteret County Schools, Carteret Health Care, Carteret County Government, Carteret Community College, and Walmart being the largest of employers. As the population grows, these employers will grow as well.

The only caveat to this is if Cherry Point expands rapidly and ends up placing a facility inside our county boundaries as a single entity, then certainly this would change the top 5 considerably.

What specific impacts do you seeing the Interstate 42 project having on the local community and tourism specifically?

When thinking about jobs at the industry level, then certainly there will be a HUGE boom related to construction level skilled trades but we don’t see a specific employer rounding out our top 5 list.

While this is open to debate, we do see Jarrett Bay Boats giving Walmart a run for their money in the next few years as this boat builder is seeing wild successes internationally.

What are your thoughts?

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Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

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