A suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, Gastonia is a small city, home to just under 72,000 residents. Recent trends of moving manufacturing overseas have hit the city hard, but it still has experienced substantial population growth over the past 10 years. However, it does provide affordable living close enough for a commute to Charlotte.
The cost of living in Gastonia is 3 percent less than the statewide average and 6.7 percent less than the nationwide average. This is primarily due to cheaper prices on goods and services and housing, while groceries and utilities are on par with state and national rates. The median home price in Gastonia is $134,000, and the median rent is $750 per month, making housing in the city 12.6 percent less than the national average.
Gastonia, NC Job Opportunities
Although Gastonia has seen a decline in working-class jobs, it is still home to many manufacturing facilities. Parkdale Mills, the number one producer of yarn in the world, is still headquartered in the city, although they closed their two main plants. Job seekers can find work as assembly line workers, managers, supervisors and engineers for other companies such as Freightliner, Stabilus and Wix Filtration Corporation.
Other major industries in Gastonia are education, healthcare and government. The largest employer outside of manufacturing is Gaston County Schools, which has over 10,000 employees. Job opportunities for education include teachers, coaches, administrators and maintenance staff.
Gastonia, NC Employment Trends
The unemployment rate in Gastonia is 5.8 percent, putting it at a level just higher than the state and nationwide average of 5.5 percent. However, job growth is expected to rise by 1.85 percent annually. The Gaston County Chamber of Commerce has also been working with the businesses of Gastonia to find innovative ways to grow small businesses, while providing jobs for local residents.