Insights into Beaufort County’s business landscape

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, March 21, 2024

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Today’s Beaufort County economic landscape reflects stability with modest growth, providing a supportive environment for existing small businesses while offering opportunities for new ventures, with realistic expectations for expansion and returns on investment.

The employment scene in Beaufort County remains steady, with the unemployment rate holding at 3.8% by the end of 2023, mirroring the state’s rate of 3.5%. 

Reports on taxable sales indicate consistent consumer spending levels, standing at $18.3 million by December 2023. This stability indicates resilience within the local economy.

Beaufort County’s housing market maintains a neutral stance, featuring reasonable prices and typical market durations. Despite a promising 10% increase in median home prices, the market has seen a slowdown, with fewer homes available for sale. In January 2024, there were 140 homes on the market, with twenty-six sold or pending, compared to 40 in September 2023. Notably, all homes sold in January were at or below the asking price, with homes spending an average of 60 days on the market, marking a 30% increase from the previous year.

The Pamlico Business Resource Center (PBRC) diligently monitors critical economic indicators specific to Beaufort County, providing valuable insights for local businesses. By tracking employment rates, taxable sales, and housing data, the PBRC assists its clients in navigating potential economic shifts.

According to the PBRC, there is a sense of optimism within the local small business community. At PBRC three new startups have been launched in 2024, and existing businesses report modest increases in sales and profitability compared to the previous year. The majority of small business clients are now shifting their focus from survival to seeking growth and sustainability opportunities in 2024, and an exciting increase in interest in PBRC Entrepreneurial Development Programs.

In summary, Beaufort County’s economic indicators suggest a stable yet cautiously optimistic business environment, offering both challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses alike.

Data for this analysis are sourced from reliable entities such as the North Carolina Department of Revenue, the North Carolina Department of Commerce LAUS report, and Rocket Homes/real estate trends.

Keith Hudson is executive director and founder of the Pamlico Business Resource Center, a not-for-profit organization serving Washington and Beaufort County.