It is safe to say that the economic engine of Pamlico County is driven mostly by small businesses, many of them multi-generational family owned concerns. The isolation of the county in the past induced the residents to become entrepreneurs to meet their family and community needs. This tradition continues today. New small businesses are being added to the economic base, providing services and products needed by residents.
The leading crops of Pamlico County agriculture consist mostly of corn, soybeans, white & sweet potatoes, wheat and cotton. Tobacco, a once prominent crop, has been replaced with these other crops. Forestry is also a prime industry, with many square miles of pine trees planted, maintained, and logged on .a regular basis.
Estimates vary, but as much as 10% of Pamlico County's total population is either directly or indirectly involved in the commercial fishing industry. Some common seafood harvested in the waters of Pamlico County are Flounder, Grouper, King Mackerel, Sea Bass, Sea Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Striped Bass, Croaker, Blue Fish, Red Drum, Black Drum, Mullet, Catfish, Common Eel, Crabs, Shrimp, Oysters, Sea Scallops and Squid.
Seafood processing and boat building account for most of the manufacturing output of the county. Small manufacturing operations are found throughout the county.
The natural beauty of Pamlico County is drawing many people to the county. Much of the land that has been devoted to forestry is now being developed for homes, providing many construction jobs for residents.
Over 20% of the employment in Pamlico County comes from the Government, Education, Social Services, and Health sectors.
The retail trade employs approximately 12% of the residents.