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posted by King Minos in Money / Career

GA's Top Ten Markets

December 1, 2012

A rough sketch of markets in GA with an emphasis on how they compare to the market in Athens, GA

(Vs. ATH):City/Metro Area Pop/Interstate Access

28x: Atlanta/5,300,000/I-20, 75, 85, 285

03x: Augusta/557,000/I-20, 520

02x: Columbus/466,000/I-185

02x: Savannah/348,000/I-16,95

01x: Macon/232,000/I-16,75,475

01x: Athens/192,000/None

01x: Gainesville/183,000/I-985

01x: Albany/165,000/None

.5x: Roswell/88,000/I-75

.3x: Marietta/57,000/I-75

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Data from "Wiki;" Pop Data is "metro area." For instance, the Augusta population includes several area counties AND includes the North Augusta area in South Carolina!

Comparison is with Athens Pop 192,000 = "x"

The Athens' market ranks 6th, here, by the WIKI metropolitan population numbers; if the student population were subtracted as "non permanent" residents, then the Athens market would rank as the 8th largest in Georgia. The highly mobile character of students causes the population to change rapidly along with the University calendar; they also represent a source of cheap labor competing with native, long-time residents and immigrants for jobs. Since the introduction of HOPE, students have generally had much greater disposable income and this has spurred plush student housing on and off campus in Athens; it has also helped spur car purchases and other big ticket items formerly reserved for people working full-time jobs. Athens, along with rural Albany GA, has no access to an interstate, nor a limited access spur to an interstate. Highways 316, 78, and 441, from Athens, are ALL bisected by multiple grade-level crossings which make commutes unpredictable, and somewhat hazardous;

The relatively high desirability to stay or live in Athens probably attracts some people from across the U.S., and certainly across the state; of course, Atlanta is the major job magnet, hands down!

But in a market that is relatively small, it is often difficult for investors to "make it" in Athens despite their keen desire to do so. THEN, starting and managing a business in Athens is difficult for two distinct reasons:

1. A relatively small population ("market") that can swing wildly according to the university calender;

2. Great competition among investors, students and others to create sustainable businesses, firms, etc. A very tough market!!

Finally, it is worth wondering what impact all the surveys and rankings, data, published lately -- noting the desirability of Athens as a "place to live" -- might have on the population and economy, locally? The thing that ought to stand out is the great deficit between the numbers of people looking for good "living wage" jobs, and the number that actually exist; yes, costs of living ARE lower in Athens, but that is because of a relatively low demand, in turn, as a result of the relatively small Athens market.

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