I just don’t know what to say about this whole mess. But sadly, Anniston/Oxford keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole that they can’t get out of. And sadly, things are not getting better, and getting worse. I mean, more small businesses across the metro have closed down. Or the businesses currently open are struggling to survive and can’t grow and expand. It’s an ongoing problem and with no current solutions in sight, things will stay as the status quo for a time to come.
So, the Anniston Star had a story about the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce’s annual economic forum. The results were not pretty. The chamber asked all business owners about their thoughts about the current economic climate in Calhoun County. And yes, I filled out the survey as well. So, what are some of the results?
65% said 2015 will be a better year for business than 2014. 68% say they think sales and demand for services will be up in 2015. But here is the kicker, 54% say they will keep the same amount of employees from 2014. And 84% say they would leave the size of their business the same this year. That means no expansion or growth, and new job opportunities. Not good!
And here is when things go south. Calhoun County’s per capita income in 2013, the last year data was available, was $32,432, the second worst county in Alabama, or ranked 66th out of 67th. That means Calhoun County’s per capita income is worst than most Black Belt counties in Alabama! Also, the Anniston/Oxford metro’s employment rate, when you compare the pre-recession numbers, remains behind all other metro areas in the state. In other words, good luck finding a job here!
But, things get even worse! In 2013, the Milken Institute ranked the Anniston/Oxford metro as the second worst performing small metro area in America. Can you guess the ranking for 2014? Yep, this metro area is dead last! View the entire list at: http://www.best-cities.org/best-performing-cities-2014-small-cities-rankings
The 2014 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. The components include job, wage and salary, and technology growth. In most years, these give a good indication of the underlying structural performance of regional economics. And for 2014, Anniston/Oxford was ranked dead last! Cue The Gap Band’s song “You Dropped A Bomb On Me!”
The ranking said the Anniston/Oxford metro had an extremely low 5-year and 1-year job growth rates. 5-year and 1-year wages and salaries were also in the dumps. The job growth percent was only 0.96%, that’s one of the worst on the list. GDP growth was very poor, and when everything is put together, the Anniston/Oxford metro was dead last!
So, what does this all mean. Well, if you are unemployed and looking for jobs in the Anniston/Oxford metro, you probably need to call U-Haul, and plan your exit from this area. Because your chances of finding anything in this metro area are slim to none. Also, this is not very surprising, because our local leaders have shown the “we don’t care” attitude when it comes to this metro area.
Yes, I wish things would be better here, but I just don’t see anything better coming anytime soon. And it’s a shame, because Anniston, Oxford, and Calhoun County has so much potential, but it’s not wanting to get the job done, sad! Want to know how to turn things around, view my presentation called How To Turn The Anniston / Oxford Area Around