WINSTON-SALEM – With its manufacturing days in the rear-view mirror, Winston-Salem has been working hard to remake itself in recent years.
And it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
In an article in today’s New York Times, economics reporter Eduardo Porter zeroed in on the “Camel City” for its efforts as mid-size city struggling to play catch up in this high-tech era.
Once a manufacturing hub for tobacco, textile and furniture, Wintson-Salem is now on the quest to become a biotech center – with its Innovation Quarter and its Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
However, as Porter reports, it’s not keeping up with the nation’s larger cities.
“Even after adjusting for its lower living costs and subdued inflation, income per person declined to 90.9% of the average for metropolitan areas in 2017, from 93.7% in 2008, government statistics show,” he writes.
“Winston-Salem’s predicament reflects a larger social and economic challenge: the widening gap between a limited set of successful cities — which draw both highly educated workers seeking well-paid jobs and high-tech companies that want to employ them — and pretty much everywhere else.”
Winston-Salem is not along. Other and mid-size areas are similarly falling behind, Porter continues, including Bangor, Maine; Monroe, Michigan; and Greensboro, North Carolina.
“The critical question is whether mid-size cities are doomed to stagnation. Can Winston-Salem hitch its future to new engines of economic growth? With its Innovation Quarter and its Institute for Regenerative Medicine, it wants to say yes. But it doesn’t really know.”