ASHEVILLE — Four years ago, then-N.C. Department of Commerce official Ray Denny was in Hong Kong on a business trip when he heard a familiar accent.
After a little conversation, Denny, now vice president for economic development at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, found that he had overheard a couple of men from Caldwell County looking to source furniture from Asia to be sold in the United States.
The men were surprised to run into a fellow North Carolinian so far from home, but statistics indicate that they probably shouldn’t have been. Furniture companies, many of them based in the Tar Heel state, have ramped up furniture imports so dramatically during this decade that the number of workers making furniture in North Carolina fell by nearly a third.
But things are just fine. Move along folks. Nothing to see here. Certainly not any jobs.