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State releases new economic ranking for counties

The North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county tier designations for 2021, showing that Haywood moved to a more economically stressed tier and Macon County moved to a less economically stressed tier. 

The designations, which are mandated by state law, play a role in several programs that assist in economic development. The 2021 rankings are calculated using four economic factors. Each county is then assigned its tier designation ranking from one to three. Tier 1 counties are generally the most economically distressed and Tier 3 counties are generally the least economically distressed.

The rankings are based on an assessment of each county’s unemployment rate, median household income, population growth, and assessed property value per capita. The law calls for 40 counties to be designated as Tier 1, 40 counties to be designated as Tier 2, and 20 counties to be designated Tier 3.

Counties moving to a less distressed tier ranking include Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Jones, Macon, Onslow, Perquimans, Pitt, Polk, and Transylvania.

Counties moving to a more distressed tier ranking include Alexander, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Davie, Haywood, Hoke, New Hanover, Randolph, and Rowan.

Tier designations determine eligibility and guidelines for several different grant programs that N.C. Commerce administers including the One North Carolina Fund, building reuse, water and sewer infrastructure, and the downtown revitalization Main Street program. Tier designations also play a role in the state’s performance-based Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, serving as a mechanism to channel funds for infrastructure improvements into more economically distresses areas of the state.

For more information visit www.nccommerce.com/grants-incentives/county-distress-rankings-tierscounty-distress-rankings-tiers.

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