October 25, 2012I spent some time last weekend showing some first-time visitors to Greensboro around and was asked where people worked. I said they used to work in textiles, furniture and tobacco, but all three legs of our stool had pretty much gone away. I suggested that Moses Cone Hospital was a big employer and the universities, but I was really having trouble thinking of industries that employ a lot of people.
It turned out I was having problems for a reason.
The Greensboro Economic Development Alliance (GEDA) once again proved that you can't trust its information. According to its list Cone Health is the top employer with 7,776 employees. But Guilford County Schools has 10,394, which, according to my understanding of math, is more than 7,776. Second on the GEDA list is the US Postal Service with 2,800 employees. This is also a problem because the City of Greensboro has over 3,100 employees and it isn't on the list. The list has High Point Regional Health System third at 2,400 employees.
So first we have a big problem with our economic development team that is putting out inaccurate information about the area, and second we have what is obviously an unsustainable system. With real figures the government has five out of the top 10 employers. And two of the other 10 are Cone and High Point Regional health systems, which are nonprofits. So that leaves three for-profit companies in the top 10: Bank of America, American Express and Tyco Electronics. And what is worse is those three are are all tied for seventh.
Five of the top seven are supported by tax dollars. Somebody has to be making those tax dollars to support them. If we all work for the government then we are just passing money around and eventually it will run out.