3) National Studies and Surveys - that rank us seriously low. Expedite processes to study how they came to their conclusions and what we need to do to correct the circumstances; including contacting those who created and implemented the study to get their thoughts on what it would take to address the negative issues. We need to look at improving every year, not regressing or responding to these scientific surveys.
Leadership in the community has constantly given individual anecdotal evidence to compare to studies that sample thousands of individuals weighted according to various demographics representing hundreds of communities across the United States. It is pure foolishness to believe that they are just picking on poor ole Hickory.
We look at institutions like Gallup, which has been doing Surveys around the world since 1935. US News and World Reports is a publication that has been around since 1933. Forbes, is a publication, which is a conservative business oriented magazine, that has been around since 1917. These are not fly by night operations.
You may not like Michael Milken, but The Milken Institute has been around since 1991. It's look at the Best Performing Economies in the United States is respected by many business professionals and economists. The Milken Institute's mission is "to improve the lives and economic conditions of diverse populations in the United States and around the world by helping business and public policy leaders identify and implement innovative ideas for creating broad-based prosperity."
Unfortunately the Hickory Metro area has consistently ranked in the bottom 10% of these surveys over the last decade. These are Business and Economic Activity related surveys. We are failing in Business and Economic Activity. Embracing these surveys means that we are taking a hard look at ourselves and seriously looking to solve the issues we face, not throwing something up and seeing if it will stick and cover up problems.
We must accept how we are being ranked in order address the realities and perceptions of the economy in the community.