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United States of America (USA) - North Carolina
North Carolina is a heavily forested state and its main industries are timber, tobacco and textiles. Farming is also a major part of the economy of the state as is tourism. The state is also a leading light in the fields of green technologies, medical sciences and computer engineering.
The city of Charlotte attracts on average 500 new residents a week, both expats and residents of other parts of the US. The city benefits from good schools and affordable housing as well as a wealth of recreational activities. The city of Raleigh is located between the ocean and the mountains and has much to offer the expat. There are many job opportunities and a variety of properties to choose from.
As all areas are attracting new residents, there is a growing expat community in North Carolina, but the state prides itself on being family friendly and welcoming, so you will find that you will feel at ease and should make new friends easily.
North Carolina – Employment
Some manufacturing jobs in the state have been lost in recent years to manufacturers overseas in countries like China, where the labour is cheaper. This has meant that some smaller towns have suffered a great deal, even though the larger cities are still growing economically. North Carolina is what is known as an ‘at-will’ employment state, which means that those who work in the private sector can be dismissed at any time with no notice and no reason needs to be given. Unemployment is quite high in the state at over 11%.
Job opportunities in Charlotte are easier to find than in other areas and the city has the country’s second largest banking sector, so those with a financial background may find it easy to find work here. There are a number of international banking institutions with a base in Charlotte, so if you already work for one of them in your home country, you may be able to get a transfer to the US with your employer acting as sponsor for you. Developments in the cities of Raleigh and Cary mean that there is a need for construction workers and there are new businesses opening every day, so opportunities in the retail and commercial sectors are opening up all the time.
As the communities in all cities grow there is also a need for medical and teaching professionals. To practice in the medical profession you will need to have a locally issued licence, and this may require your taking examinations to prove your knowledge.
The tourism industry in North Carolina includes amusement parks, sports venues, vineyards and numerous hotels. Those who are experienced in this field may find that there are some work opportunities there, although many of the jobs available are for unskilled workers.
North Carolina – Property
The city of Charlotte is a good example to take when it comes to considering a property to buy. House prices vary according to the neighbourhood, so properties in the Uptown area are more expensive than those in the city centre. There have been a number of condominium developments in recent years which has attracted young professionals to the area. Districts such as Myers Park are filled with large detached luxury homes, while cheaper properties can be found in areas such as Cotswold and Elizabeth. Other popular areas include lakeside properties at Lake Wylie which range from new builds to older properties which have been renovated.
Expats who want to consider the cities of Raleigh or Cary should take into consideration neighbourhoods such as Twin Lakes and Brier Creek. These have everything you need for daily life, from a wide range of family homes to shops and recreational activities for all the family. The neighbourhood of Bedford Falls in Raleigh has been named one of the best places in the US for retirees. In both cities there are new build developments which are aimed at the influx of new residents who are looking for work, although older properties are also available.
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