Moore County recognized as top micropolitan area

For the sixth year in a row, the Pinehurst-Southern Pines micropolitan tops POLICOM’s 2023 Economic Strength Rankings as the No. 1 micropolitan area in North Carolina.

The rankings show the Pinehurst-Southern Pines area is first out of 22 micropolitan statistical areas in North Carolina and 21st out of 543 micropolitan statistical areas across the United States. Pinehurst-Southern Pines moved up 18 places from its 2022 ranking, placing our area in the top 7% nationally of communities with a stable and consistently growing economy in 2023.

A “micropolitan” is defined as a statistical area having an urbanized core with a population of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 and includes adjacent territory that is socially and economically integrated with the core as measured by commuting ties. The Pinehurst-Southern Pines micropolitan includes all of Moore County.

POLICOM, a Florida-based independent economic research firm, uses 23 economic factors measured over a 19-year period to analyze local and state economies annually to determine if a particular economy is growing or declining and why. The company looks at each metropolitan and micropolitan area across the country to evaluate the long-term tendency of each economy to consistently grow in both size and quality.

“Our consistent POLICOM ranking as the #1 micropolitan in North Carolina affirms that Moore County’s economy is consistently growing in both size and quality,” said Natalie Hawkins, president of Moore County Economic Development Partnership (MCEDP). “Our ranking speaks volumes about the collective strength and success of Moore County’s businesses and industries that are the solid foundation of our local economy.”

“MCEDP recognizes the correlation between a strong economy and a better quality of life. However, we cannot afford to be complacent because our economy is strong and prosperous today,” Hawkins cautioned. “It’s critical that our local government officials continue to have priorities and policies that not only support our existing businesses but also encourage the recruitment and formation of new businesses so our economy can continue to prosper.”

Following Pinehurst-Southern Pines, the second highest North Carolina micropolitan in POLICOM’s rankings is Kill Devil Hills (#43 nationally), followed by Boone (#53 nationally), and Morehead City (#62 nationally).

Feature photo: Carthage water town by Sandhills Sentinel photographer Melissa Schaub. 


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