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WNC Business

Education's economic impact

Jul 02, 2023 07:19PM ● By Randee Brown

Supporting tens of thousands of regional jobs, the education industry is increasingly focused on funneling rising talent into the local workforce.

Education Industry Overview

According to Riverbird Research, the concentration of jobs in the education industry across an 18-county area of WNC was on par with the national average in 2022.

The 2017-2022 jobs growth rate of -6% was greater than the overall -1% rate of change, supporting employment of 33,809 individuals earning an average annual wage of $43,369 excluding supplements.

The education industry in Buncombe County supported 9,085 of those jobs in 2022, followed by Watauga County’s education facilities which supported 6,164 jobs.

Private Schools

Private schools also play a role in the education industry. With 115,311 students enrolled in private schools statewide, 69.3% at religious schools and 30.7% at independent schools, 7,647 of those students attend a variety of private schools in WNC, according to NC’s Department of Administration’s Division of Non-Public Education.

In WNC, each county except for Ashe and Graham has at least one private school, for a total of 98 private schools in the region. Out of the state’s 828 private schools, the region is home to 12% of these institutions.

These 98 private schools employ a total of 1,529 teachers across the region, 784 of which work in Buncombe County. Henderson County has the second highest number of private school teachers, 206, followed by Rutherford County with 84 private school teachers.