Greenville was featured heavily in a big front page story in the Wall Street Journal this week about metro areas that are leading the way when recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic hits. As a company that is headquartered in Greenville, we are seeing this happen, but the WSJ story underlies some key points:
- Greenville has a mix of high-tech jobs and old-line industries, including manufacturing and finance, that turned out to be more resistant to the downturn. That helped us come through the year with fewer job losses and service cuts, and made quicker recoveries.
- Cost of living is cheaper. A lot of businesses realized that workers don’t need to be in the office and actually are more productive at home. That has led many higher level workers to see new places to live where the cost of living is better. That includes places such as Greenville. A couple profiled in the story said they “bought a four-bedroom house five minutes from Greenville’s downtown last fall for $850,000, much more space than what that amount would bring in Jersey City, and with much lower property taxes.
- Amenities abound. The article also highlighted metros in Iowa and Utah, but they shared something very much in common with Greenville. They have a lot of the amenities that people look for when deciding where to move: local restaurants, parks, trails, natural features, great downtown, professional sports and the like. A recent Greenville transplant said: he “yearned for a community with lighter traffic and the opportunity to live comfortably near the city’s urban core in a picturesque setting. He and his wife considered a half-dozen states, including Arizona, Texas and Georgia, contacting schools and business leaders, and plotted out their relative strengths and weaknesses.” Greenville won, obviously.
- Stats matter: Jobs in the Greenville region grew 11.9% by March from a recent low point in April 2020, compared with the growth rate of 10.7% for the country as a whole. The country’s job growth had reached 10.9% by April 2021 from the year earlier low.