Advanced Manufacturing

There are approximately 200 advanced manufacturing firms in the Research Triangle Region, which collectively employ more than 12,500 people with an average wage of $86,000.

When we talk about advanced manufacturing, we’re talking about companies that are building products that require advanced skills or technologies to create. Examples include medical devices, automotive and aerospace components, military or agricultural equipment, and advanced materials.

The advanced manufacturing sector has enjoyed a 4.4% growth rate over the past year. This is more than six times the rate of growth in the United States as a whole.

Advanced Manufacturing At A Glance






Average Annual Salary


Contribution to Gross Regional Product


1-Year Growth Rate


5-Year Growth Rate

Industry Highlight: Caterpillar

Caterpillar Inc. is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The Fortune 100 company has multiple locations in the Research Triangle Region. Caterpillar manufactures wheel loaders and has a 100-acre R&D facility and a Customer and Training Center in Clayton (Johnston County), maintains an administrative office in Cary (Wake County) and manufactures skid steer loaders, compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders in Sanford (Lee County).

“We are proud of the products we design, test and manufacture in the Research Triangle Region,” said Tony Fassino, Caterpillar Building Construction Products Division Vice President. “The area’s talented and dedicated workforce is an incredible asset to a company like Caterpillar.”

The company is a terrific example of a strong corporate citizen. Not only has Caterpillar made a significant economic impact during its 25+ years in the region, it actively participates in the communities in which it operates, and it maintains close working relationships with nearby community colleges and universities. When you combine all of that with very attractive apprenticeship programs, it’s easy to understand why Caterpillar continues to have access to an exceptional workforce.

The Sanford facility is located in Central Carolina Enterprise Park.

Caterpillar in the Research Triangle Region:

  • Caterpillar has been in the Research Triangle region since 1991.
  • The Sanford facility has produced more than 275,000 machines since 1998.
  • Caterpillar employs more than 2,000 people in North Carolina.