The term capital flight refers to the movement of corporate money from one investment to another. Increasingly this has meant movement of capital outside US borders in search of cheaper labor markets. Since 1995, North Carolina has lost more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs. From 1990 to 2000 the textile industry lost 72,000 jobs and the apparel industry lost 45,000 jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics
). In North Carolina, as in the rest of the US, workers can no longer count on cradle-to-grave employment with one employer. Workers in Southeastern North Carolina know this all too well. Manufacturing, the underpinning of American 20th century economy, is no longer dominant. Better paying manufacturing jobs have declined as lower paying service jobs have increased. Today workers require retraining for new information technology jobs.
In Southeastern North Carolina some workers have taken part of the NAFTA Transition Adjustment Assistance program that provides job training and income support to former manufacturing workers. As the Public Citizen website http://www.citizen.org/trade/nafta/index.cfm points out, strict guidelines establish who is able to participate in this program - not all displaced manufacturing workers are eligible. The website provides a sample of NAFTA job loss in North Carolina. While this does not reflect the widespread layoffs from capital flight experienced in North Carolina, it does provide a glimpse of the impact on the three regions in Southeastern North Carolina.