Welcome Validation Of Our Strengths
M oore County is fortunate to have a stable but consistently growing economy, because that enables its citizens to enjoy a higher quality of life.
The recently released 2011 Economic Strength Rankings offer further proof that our county has weathered the recession far better than its neighbors, not to mention its contemporaries nationwide. Which suggests that the bounce-back, when it comes, could be even better.
The Southern Pines-Pinehurst area is ranked 34th out of 576 U.S. "micropolitan statistical areas," according to Policom Corp., a Florida-based independent economic research firm that analyzes local and state economies to determine if a particular economy is growing or declining and why.
'Lot of Volatility'
Policom President William Furth went to great pains to reassure The Pilot that we have a stable local economy here in southern Moore County, despite the fact that it was our "worst" showing since Furth added micros to the rankings in 2004.
"There was a lot of volatility this time around," he emphasized. "The only reason for the lower ranking is either minor slippage or other micros have done a little better and moved up."
Micropolitan statistical areas (the other end of the size spectrum from the metropolitan kind) are defined as having a population of at least 10,000 residents but fewer than 50,000. Each area is evaluated based on the long-term tendency of its economy to grow in both size and quality. The higher the ranking, the more constant the growth has been over an extended time.
From 2004 to 2011, the Southern Pines-Pinehurst area finished 4th, 22nd, 29th, 20th, 27th, 24th, 24th and 34th, respectively.
Great Standard of Living
That consistency tends to validate the bullish stand taken by Ray Ogden, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress, and Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce.
Ogden and Coughlin were beacons of light amid the economic storm as each championed the county's positive attributes throughout the recession. Their can-do attitudes were infectious and likely helped us emerge from the downturn relatively unscathed when compared with our local neighbors and national contemporaries.
Among numerous other factors, Ogden points to the diversity of our industries, the strength of our medical community and the resiliency of our resort community as the keys to maintaining our high Policom ranking over the years. Coughlin pumps up the area's strength in terms of economic viability, leadership and overall attractiveness.
Of course, they're both right.
Moore County is blessed to have a plethora of talent - white-collar and blue-collar - that has worked together to create an exceptional standard of living. It is, perhaps, our greatest strength.
But our Eden in the Pines is not only a great place to live, it's a great place to start, relocate or expand a business.
Simply put, the Economic Strength Rankings only serve as annual re-affirmation of what we already know.
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