One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.


From the "State of the City Report", by Keith Debbage for the Greensboro Partnership


Median earnings in Greensboro declined slightly (i.e., -0.3%) from 2011 to 2012 even though Durham (13.7%) and Raleigh (5.5%) experienced robust growth.

Per capita income in Greensboro declined by -1.2% from 2011 to 2012 while Durham (10.7%), Raleigh (4.8%) and to a lesser extent Winston-Salem (1.7%) all experienced noticeable growth.

Greensboro has experienced a four year decline in the share of all jobs attributable to [the arts and entertainment/accommodation and food industry], declining from a five year high of 12.8% in 2009 to 10.7% of all jobs in 2012. The ongoing efforts to build the Tanger Performing Arts Center and related hotel development may well remedy this problem. That said, this sector generated the lowest average wage rates of any major industry group included in this Report (i.e., $15,395).

The percentage of the city population in poverty increased from 19.6% in 2011 to 20.0% in 2012 meaning one in five Greensboro residents were in poverty. (Note: for a family of four with two children under the age of 18, the household is considered poor if total household income is below $23,283 in 2012).

The population of Greensboro increased from 273,425 in 2011 to 277,080 in 2012 – a modest increase of 1.3%. Greensboro’s population growth rate lagged behind several of their competitors including Charlotte (2.5%), Raleigh (2.3%), and Durham (2.3%) although Winston-Salem (1.1%) experienced a more sluggish growth rate over the same time period.

Greensboro is rapidly becoming a more diverse city and only 47.3% of Greensboro’s population was classified as white in 2012 – part of a three year decline in market share from a five year high of 52.6% in 2010. By contrast, the percent of the Greensboro population classified as African-American was 42.7% - the highest such share since beginning the State of the City series in 2003.

During the past three years, the Hispanic population in Greensboro has mimicked trends in the African American population. The percentage of the population classified as Hispanic has steadily increased of late from 6.6% in 2010 to a record high of 7.8% in 2012 as the Hispanic community apparently began to return to Greensboro in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

Greensboro and the Piedmont Triad metropolitan area have some of the most sprawling growth patterns in the United States.

Homeownership in Greensboro declined precipitously from 56.5% of the housing stock in owner-occupied units in 2011 to 50.7% in 2012 – a decline of nearly 6 percentage points.

Given the substantial declines in home ownership levels in Greensboro from 2011 to 2012, ...the median house value decreased by $11,000 from $151,300 in [year end ] 2011 [when Guilford County's Real Estate Revaluation occurred],  to $140,300 in [year end] 2012. However, this directly contrasts with a four year rise in house prices from $143,100 in 2008 to $151,300 in 2011.

The overall tax base in Guilford County declined -0.2% from $37.1 billion in 2011/12 to $37.0 billion in 2012/13. Much of the explanation for this slight decline is likely attributable to the 2012 revaluation [as of January 1, 2012, which was a day after the end of 2011, as noted above] and subsequent appeals of value.

The percentage of the total property tax base generated from residential properties was 68.9% in 2012/13 which is notably higher than the 63.8% share in 2009/10.

Overall average wages in Guilford County increased from $41,835 in 2011 to $42,993 in 2012 – a 2.8% increase (+ $1,158).

Retail jobs on the whole paid poorly offering an average wage of just $26,512 in 2011 and $27,387 in 2012. Only the arts and entertainment/accommodation and food industry generated lower average wage rates.

The arts and entertainment/accommodation and food industry generated the lowest average wages of all the major industry groupings in this report where the average wage rate was $14,942 in 2011 compared to just $15,395 in 2012. That said, performing artists and spectator sports paid an average wage of $33,929 in 2012 compared to just $19,413 in the hotel sector and $14,443 for restaurants and bars.

In 2012, the percentage of the population with a high school diploma or less was 36.6% compared to 35.9% in 2011 – a significant increase and a negative trend line given the need for skills in the contemporary knowledge economy. Unfortunately, the percentage of the population with a college degree decreased noticeably from 36.9% in 2011 to 35.0% in 2012

Greensboro continues to experience a fledgling recovery of sorts as the economy continues to turnaround although we continue to face some significant challenges."

1 comment:

W.E. Heasley said...


Read the entire twenty two page report by Keith Debbage. The following comes from the executive summary:

“Public policy makers and economic development practitioners have become increasingly concerned with maintaining and improving the quality of life of their political jurisdictions as a way to maintain their competitive advantage. Greensboro is no exception to this rule.

The overall purpose of this report is to provide an annual update of the Greensboro performance metrics first identified in the 2003 State of the City Report. The 2014 Update focuses only on the Greensboro metrics. In 2016, a more comprehensive State of the City Report will be published that compares Greensboro to our peer cities.

Part of the agenda is to stimulate discussion and to educate the general public about the overall performance of Greensboro. The long-term goal for the city of Greensboro is to see increased efficiency, progress and improvement over time for each of the selected metrics.”

Hence Debbage is stating that the central planners [Public policy makers and economic development practitioners], technocrats advocating ‘the one best way’ as it were, are concerned with maintaining and improving items, and not so coincidentally in their political jurisdictions.

Since the supposed reason for the report is “purpose of this report is to provide an annual update of the Greensboro performance metrics” then the metrics are a report card on the abysmal failure of technocrats advocating ‘the one best way’. Oops!

If in fact the report is “to educate the general public about the overall performance of Greensboro”, then one has been educated that policy makers and economic development practitioners, otherwise known as central planners, have failed yet again, like they did last time and like next time.

Better yet, Debbage is a technocrat.

Maybe, just maybe F.A. Hayek was correct when he pointed out spontaneous order/emergent order, of free people making free decisions, in a free market, based on their particular time and their particular circumstance, creating the extended order [macro order], produces a much better outcome than central planners.

“Rather than the smooth - running engine promised by turn-of-the-century progressives, technocratic governance has been a Rube Goldberg device at best and, more often, a misfitting hodgepodge that grinds gears, shoots out sparks, and periodically breaks down entirely” - Virginia Postrel, The Future and its Enemies, paperback edition, 1999, pg. 20