Entrepreneurship and Industry

Nearly 1,000 private non-farm employers and another 3,000 self-employed entrepreneurs operate their businesses in Jackson County every day, providing workers with nearly 10,000 jobs. In fact, private non-farm employment grew more than 28% between 2011 and 2012 – fourteen times the statewide average.

The county is home to numerous planned communities and private resorts. North Carolina’s largest recycled paper manufacturer Jackson Paper Manufacturing is located here, as well as numerous small and medium sized businesses that continue to grow and prosper.

Strong entrepreneurship programs and a robust county economic development program provide support, training, and development services to businesses of all sizes. Entrepreneurs and established businesses are supported by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; the Center for Rapid Product Realization; the Small Business & Technology Development Center; and the Small Business Center.


More than 9 million visitors come to the region every year to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it the most visited national park in the country. Once they arrive, visitors also head for the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cherokee Indian Reservation, Nantahala National Forest, and dozens of regional waterfalls, trails, hiking, camping, biking, and water recreation sites. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino brings in over 3.6 million visitors to the county annually.

Domestic tourism has grown at a steadily increasing pace over the past twenty years, and generated more than $175 million in economic impact in 2014. The county ranks 25th of North Carolina’s 100 counties in tourism and travel impact, which has generated more than 1,600 local jobs with a payroll of just over $36 million. State and local tax revenues from travel amounted to $16.31 million in 2013, between 2013 and 2014, room occupancy taxes brought in nearly $750,000.

Health Care

Harris Regional Hospital, owned by Duke LifePoint, provides Jackson County with superior quality health care and cutting edge medical technology. In addition, our partnerships with Mission Health Care and their subsidiaries, along with the School of Health and Human Sciences at Western Carolina University, ensures that residents and visitors to Jackson County have immediate access to top-rated medical care.

© Jackson County Economic Development/Website by Hazel Digital Media
Photography by Jeremy Wilson and Nick Breedlove