Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats



  • Proximity to Norfolk offers access to a major population and job center
  • Coastal tourism supports jobs, outside dollars, & tax revenue
  • Regional poverty rate is lower than the state’s HS Graduation rates are high across the region
  • Nation’s largest and busiest Coast Guard air station
  • Low crime rates help make the region attractive


  • Providing better connection to Norfolk through announced upgrades to future interstate I-87
  • Improving low educational attainment would improve the region’s long-term prospects
  • Several high wage industries are particularly concentrated in the region
  • Aging population offers many opportunities for workers in the health care sector
  • Opportunities for Coast Guard partnerships and retiree attraction


  • Slow population and job growth, along with a declining labor force
  • Low educational attainment limiting skill development
  • Lack of major job centers
  • Low wage jobs are common
  • High opioid prescription rates in parts of the region
  • Few shell buildings and available sites


  • Regional job growth projected to be slow
  • Projected loss in working-age population (25-64) without more employment opportunities
  • Potential for continued state government job losses in prisons and colleges
  • High home values pose a challenge for workers
  • Extreme weather & beach erosion could impact tourism revenue, jobs, & development


EDA has provided significant investment in the expansion of the runway at the airport in Elizabeth City that was connected to the Coast Guard Air Station allowing for the expansion of the Coast Guard Air Station, as well as additional business development within the Region.


EDA currently is participating with Gates County and Camden County for the expansion of a sewer system to provide for commercial development in each County. Also, along with the Partnership Grant, EDA has also provided funding as a result of Hurricane Matthew to enhance preparedness in the region for future disasters.


Due to the regions rural nature we anticipate there will be a continuing need for infrastructure including broadband.  Additionally, since the region is located in coastal North Carolina, we are often affected by inclement weather that can devastate our coastal communities.  Proper planning and support with assist in limiting these affects.