#7 Fastest Growing U.S. Market for 2007
July 1, 2000: 1,340,017
July 1, 2006: 1,583,016
Percent change: 18.13 percent
* Population statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau
Percent change: 7.06 percent
* Job statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
|Table of Contents|
|The Top 10 Fastest Growing Markets in America|
|1.||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|7.||Charlotte, North Carolina|
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Charlotte may well be the biggest surprise on this list of growing metropolitan areas. The city has boomed along with the financial industry in recent years and is growing popular as a retiree destination.
The city of Charlotte experienced growth of 19.89 percent from 2000 to 2006—even greater growth than the overall MSA. Double digit gains occurred in all age groups under 20. The 25 to 34-year-old age group declined slightly, but all groups from 35 to 84 years experienced double digit growth, with the 55 to 64-year-old age group particularly high, at more than 60 percent growth.
Retirees are a growing component of the local economy, with retiree populations increasing around the lakes, downtown and in Lancaster County, according to an April 2007 report by the Wachovia Corporation Economics Group.
The region emphasizes quality of life and is known as the City of Trees, according to the Charlotte Regional Partnership.
Charlotte is the nation’s second-largest banking center, behind only New York City, so financial services are a widely recognized sector of Charlotte’s economy, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Bank of America and Wachovia, major players in the industry, are headquartered in Charlotte.
Dependence on the financial industry may impact the economy negatively as the industry experiences a downturn, but the region’s economy is becoming more diverse, as more businesses relocate to the greater Charlotte area and the region adds amenities, according to the Wachovia report.
“The old stand bys of banking, motorsports, and logistics are still going strong, but they are being supplemented by relocations and expansions of regional and national headquarters, gains in high tech and professional services, a growing convention and tourist trade, and the emergence of a major biotechnology research park,” according to the report.
The $1.5 billion, 350-acre biotechnology campus nearby “holds tremendous promise in adding high end research jobs and ultimately bringing several new businesses to the region,” according to the report.
Nine Fortune 500 companies are located in Charlotte, as well as a flourishing film industry, according to the Charlotte Regional Partnership. “The current regional economy is diversified and interdependent.”
Within the city of Charlotte, jobs in finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing grew by 19.05 percent from 2000 to 2006, from 41,940 to 49,929 jobs. Jobs in educational services, and health care, and social assistance grew by 44.16 percent, from 45,251 to 65,236 jobs. Construction jobs grew by 45.27 percent, from 20,839 to 30,273.
Like much of the nation, the MSA experienced a decline in single family building permits from August 2006 to August 2007, dropping by 19 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Multi-family permits in the MSA actually grew by 36 percent, in contrast to the national average decline of 14 percent in multi-family permits, according to the NAHB. Overall, Charlotte’s decline was 11 percent–much less than the national average decline of 24 percent, according to the NAHB.
Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services also make up a significant portion of Charlotte’s jobs, increasing by 23.90 percent from 33,608 to 41,639. Double digit percentage gains occurred in wholesale trade; retail trade; and transportation and warehousing, and utilities. Manufacturing jobs, however, declined by 15.24 percent, from 30,665 to 25,991.
The Charlotte region’s 36 institutions of higher learning offer “a consistent supply of young talent,” according to the Charlotte Regional Partnership.
Overall, most of the job growth in the MSA took place in 2005 and 2006; the preceding years saw minimal growth and declines.