Good news on the Haywood economy

Dec 04, 2012

While Haywood’s economy hasn’t returned to the explosive growth levels recorded a decade ago, all signs point to improvement.

Unemployment is down, housing sales are up and there are new businesses opening up across the county.

Retail owners report brisk sales overall, and holiday sales have also been going well for most merchants.

Perhaps the best indicator of Haywood’s economic status is from the N.C. Department of Commerce, which has recalculated the formula that determines state funding opportunities when it comes to economic development.

Under the economic tier system, the 40 most distressed counties are designated tier 1 and get the maximum amount of tax credits available. The next 40 counties are designated at tier 2, and the 20 most prosperous counties in the state are in the tier 3 category.

After a recent assessment based on unemployment rates, median household income, population growth and assessed property value per capita, Haywood was moved into the most successful tier. That puts this county in the top 20 percent in the state, economically speaking

County Economic Deveopment Director Mark Clasby sees good and bad with the new ranking. While prosperity is good, loss of the economic incentive edge will definitely make it harder to compete with other states and counties to attract new industry.

The rankings, he said, could indicate not  so much that Haywood is thriving, but that it has done better relative to other counties in the state.

Whatever the case, it is clear the Haywood economy is definitely on the road to recovery. That’s good news.

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