While tourism is a major part of its economy, Watauga County looks to manufacturers, including International Resistive Company (IRC), small businesses, and seasonal home buyers to broaden its base. broaden its base.
Passage of the 1993 state bond referendum approved $560 million for university system and community college construction. Projects include East Carolina University's Joyner Library expansion and renovation.
The 1995 General Assembly passed legislation authorizing charter schools, or schools operated by a private, non-profit organization. The hard question that remains to be answered is how these schools are supposed to operate.