This story appeared in the on-line version of my hometown's newspaper last week.
Forbes: Anderson one of worst small cities for jobs
By Charmaine Smith-Miles
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
ANDERSON, SC — A Forbes magazine article ranks Anderson as the 10th-worst small city in the country for jobs this year.
The magazine has published its annual “Best Places to Do Business” survey by Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University and Forbes contributor. Kotkin also ranked those at the bottom of the list.
The survey said the city actually lost jobs, in spite of recent decreases in unemployment.
“In Anderson, the unemployment rate actually decreased slightly from February 2009, but the total number of jobs in this northwestern region of the state fell 6 percent between 2007 and 2008,” according to the survey. “Many of the job losses were in the manufacturing sector. But officials in Anderson’s public school system have said they may have to lay off employees whether or not they receive federal aid. It seems that the education sector, typically stable ground for employment, is no match for this recession.”
Rounding out the top five small cities were Dalton, Ga., and four cities in Michigan — Battle Creek, Flint, Saginaw and Jackson.
Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts said the city needed to work toward job growth.
“We’ve got to do a better job of attracting nonmanufacturing businesses to our city, and continue to build on what we’ve already done from a quality-of-life perspective,” he said. “As a city, we are working to provide the vibrant atmosphere businesses seek when determining a location. Young professionals are looking for the type of areas we are working to build, for instance, the downtown Anderson area.”
Roberts pointed to the city’s neighborhood task force initiative as one of several programs aimed at improving neighborhoods within the city limits and creating a family-friendly atmosphere for young professionals.