Guy Lucas, News-Topic

LENOIR —The pace of new economic development announcements has slowed in recent weeks, but 2013 still is expected to finish with more projects announced than in 2012, officials said Wednesday.

More importantly, some companies that came to Caldwell County this year are just about to ramp up hiring, so the job outlook 2014 should get off to a good start, said Deborah Murray, executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.

In particular, Woodgrain Millwork has pledged to create 170 jobs and so far has only about 30. The company is actively hiring, Murray said.

“That makes us feel very good” about the 2014 outlook, she told members of the EDC board of directors Wednesday.

One company expansion expected to be announced in the coming weeks, which the EDC refers to only as Project Prime Time because the company has not yet even told its own employees of its plans, could result in up to 50 jobs in 2014, she said.

Among other companies that expanded or came to Caldwell this year, Bakers Waste Equipment had hired 27 employees as of Sept. 30; ATSI had hired 62, Exela Pharma Sciences had hired 18, and Carolina Prime Pet had hired 60. [more]