CHARLOTTE — It may not be apparent in the skyline, but the Queen City is home to a bustling manufacturing sector that produces $37 billion in goods every year.
"From snack foods to components that go up into satellite,” said Tony Crumbley, who researches economic trends for the Charlotte Chamber.
The Piedmont Crescent, which sweeps from Raleigh-Durham to Greenville-Spartanburg, is the fourth largest manufacturing hub in the country.
“It's very much an economic driver for this region," said Crumbley.
North Carolina lost textile and tobacco jobs in the 1980's and 1990's, but manufacturing began a bumpy rebound in 2007.
During his speech at last week's Democratic National Convention, President Obama touted that growth. The president said his plan for the economy will create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016.
"We can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here in the United States of America," said President Obama.
However latest employment numbers show the U.S. lost 15,000 manufacturing jobs in August.
“For every net new job that was created last month four people dropped out of the workforce. This is not the kind of news the American people were hoping for and deserve," said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
The numbers prove manufacturing is still on shaky ground. Business leaders point to the industry's growth during a tough recession as a sign that it will add jobs in North Carolina.
However, most residents may never know it, admits Crumbley.
"They're here. They just aren't in big high rise towers that you can see in the skyline like the banking industry," said Crumbley.
Mecklenburg County manufactures more goods than any other county in North Carolina, when measured by value. Guilford County and Wake County round out the top three.