|The Leading South-Atlantic Metros for Economic and Workforce Growth
|Area Development ranks the Top MSAs in the South-Atlantic states for economic and workforce growth based on the overall results from our Leading Locations for 2012 study.
Steve Stackhouse-Kaelble (Summer 2012)
Top 7 South-Atlantic Cities
- The small community of Morgantown weathered the recession comparatively well, adding employment fairly steadily (an enviable situation compared with many American cities). Its job growth numbers were in positive territory across the past five years. West Virginia University and its hospital organization are the top employers, and other providers combine with the university's hospital to create a vibrant health care industry. Also high on the list is Mylan Pharmaceuticals, maker of generic drugs.
Morgantown's status as a university town has a powerful impact on quality of life, and has helped it make a mark on a number of rankings. The community is on Forbes' "Best Small Metros for Business and Careers," Kiplinger's "Smart Places to Live," Inc.'s "Boom Towns" and Men's Journal's "Best Small Towns to Live." Farmers Insurance has also cited it among the "Most Secure Small Cities." It also is known for its unique Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system linking three university campuses and the downtown area with a network of automated, one-car "people movers."
- Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville
- In the 4th spot among Area Development's Top 20 South-Atlantic Cities was
Fayetteville, which also placed 15th overall
among the Top 50 Mid-Size Cities and 4th
for its "Prime Workforce Growth" among
the Top 25 Mid-Size Cities. The city's
three-year and five-year employment
change remained in positive territory
through the recession, a feat envied by
many American cities. Fayetteville also was
14th among the Top 25 Mid-Size Cities for
its "Economic Strength" indicators.
Since 2000, Fayetteville's industrial sector
recorded investments totaling more than
$850 million and creating nearly 6,000 jobs.
The healthcare business remains quite
robust, with the announcement this spring
of a 1,200-job facility by the Department of
Veterans Affairs. The Fayetteville business
scene is diverse, with such headquarters as
M.J. Soffe, Union Corrugating, Nitta Gelatin,
OmniSource, Morty Pride, and Hercules
Steel, plus operations representing everything
from Goodyear Tire and Rubber to
Maidenform to Northrop Grumman to DuPont, which has continued to invest in its
According to Fayetteville's chamber,
recent rankings have placed the community
among the top-five defense industry locations,
2nd highest in the state in per capita
income, among the nation's top-five most
affordable housing markets, and among.
- It's known as the "City of Medicine," a reasonable nickname given the more than 300 medical and health-related companies in the Durham-Chapel Hill area. But as one component of the renowned Research Triangle Park, "City of Medicine" really tells just part of the story. That's because the nation's first science-focused business park targets not just medicine, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology but also information technology and other hot disciplines. Research is a prime driver of the economy, thanks to the presence of prestigious Duke University, which also happens to be the biggest local employer. But even that is just part of the story, as North Carolina Central University also is gaining on the research front, especially biotechnology research.
Durham-Chapel Hill did not escape the recession unscathed, but in the past year has enjoyed impressive recovery. Positive headlines cover not just Durham itself but its whole section of North Carolina. For example, Durham-based Semprius Inc. picked a community not far away for its first solar cell manufacturing plant. And Burlington Technologies Inc., also not that far from Durham, is adding more than 100 jobs at its specialty textiles factory.
- This MSA - located in Montgomery
County, Va. - ranked 6th among Area
Development's Top 20 South-
Atlantic Cities. Specifically it
ranked 5th for Employment
Growth (net one-year change
as percentage of population)
and 48th for 2010 work force
18-44 with BA degree or
higher (as percentage of total
work force). The county is
home to internationally
renowned Virginia Tech.
In confirmation of our
rankings, in 2009, Forbes
named the Blacksburg metro
31st on its list of the "Best
Small Places for Business and
Careers," and 14th on its list of "America's
Most Educated Small Towns."
Since 2000, relocating or expanding businesses
have invested more than $265 million
and created more than 4,600 jobs in
Montgomery County, Va. In October 2011,
outdoor retailer Backcountry.com announced
plans to invest over $20 million to establish a
fulfillment center in the county that will create
more than 200 new jobs*, and in March
of 2011, Modea, a designer of product-focused media, said it would place its headquarters
in the county, creating 200 jobs.
LEADING LOCATIONS FOR 2012 RESOURCES