Monday, April 22, 2024
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Jackson Co. Mayor Pleasantly Surprised At County’s Progress In At-Risk Designation

County Mayor Randy Heady pleasantly surprised by recent state numbers regarding Jackson County’s status as an economically at-risk county.

Heady said Jackson County placed 17th out of 27 Tennessee at-risk counties. He said just four years ago, the county was considered economically distressed.

“The poverty rate is 17.9 percent, we were around 23 percent five years ago and now we have moved all the way down to 17.9 percent,” Heady said. “Which is one of the huge contributing factors for us moving up in statistics as much as we have.”

Heady said there are three things that make up the metrics for a county’s designation, including poverty rate, per capita market income, and unemployment. He said that based on the updated number, Jackson County is not close to falling back into a distressed county, which is the most exciting part.

Heady said the county will continue to make strides and hopefully improve its designation in the near future. He said the key is to elevate the quality of life.

“These numbers, if you put them all together, like the poverty rate for example, it means people are making more money than they did four years ago, five years ago,” Heady said. “But it also means a lot of people are moving into the county with work-from-home jobs. We’re very fortunate to have Twin Lakes as a provider for our internet service and we’re a good community with fiber. People are moving here because they like this quality of life that we have.”

Heady said seeing improved per capita market income, unemployment rates, and poverty rates, means that the people in the county are doing better than they were before.