Catawba County and its municipalities consistently rank high in national lists and publications. Forbes.com ranks the Greater Hickory Metro as having the lowest business costs in the nation. Since 2006 the metro area has been ranked no lower than 6th. Travel & Leisure Magazine ranks Hickory as the #1 Most Affordable and Beautiful Place to Live in the US. US News & World Report has named the Hickory MSA as #1 in their list of Most Affordable Places to Live in the US. Inc. has ranked Hickory among its 6 cheapest cities in which to start a business and NerdWallet named Hickory and Conover the 4th and 6th best places to start a business in North Carolina.
With 31.5% of our workforce employed in manufacturing and raking 5th in the nation for manufacturing concentration, Catawba County and the Hickory MSA have long been considered a top location for the manufacturing industry. Business Facilities Magazine ranked the Hickory MSA as #8 in their list of Mid-Size Manufacturing Hubs. Catawba County and the Hickory Metro have spent years diversifying their industrial base. Just some of the diversified manufacturing sectors that call Catawba County home include machining and metal working, plastics, fiber optic and coaxial cable and furniture. Catawba County led North Carolina’s data center recruitment efforts with a focused approach to targeting data centers through the development and marketing of the NC Data Center Corridor.
Catawba County’s manufacturing prowess is supported and accentuated by a rich geography and diverse lifestyle that has brought the area national recognition. Catawba County is not just a great place to do business, it's a great place to live for people of all ages. US News & World Report named Hickory as 3rd for Best Places to LIve in NC, 31st for Best Places to LIve in the US, 3rd for Best Places to Retire in the US, and one of the Top Ten Best Places to Live Near the Mountains in the US.