Who is winning the economic development game?

2015-2016 are the best two years back-to-back in the 22-year history of the SB&D 100. . .

At a speaking engagement last spring in Martinsville, Va., respected Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner focused on how poorly the global economy is performing. He did mention that the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape. Not remarkable growth, Vitner said, but steady growth despite the global downturn. 


Moody’s Investors Service agrees with Vitner on the shape of the world economy as a whole. A Moody’s press release in May stated that weak growth in emerging markets, “driven by low commodity prices and waning export demand,” will act as a drag on the global economy this year. Moody’s predicts that G20 emerging markets will grow by 4.2 percent this year compared to 4.4 percent in 2015. It also predicted that G20 advanced markets (like the U.S. and the EU) will grow at 1.7 percent this year compared to 1.9 percent in 2015.


Growth at around 2 percent has been the norm in the U.S. since the recession ended. Growth of GDP or what I call Gross Regional Product (GRP) in the South is also around 2 percent, and that’s with the oil-producing states of Oklahoma and Texas not contributing at all. Those two state’s third quarter 2015 GDP grew at 0.1 percent. So, prior to the oil collapse, the South’s economy was growing faster than the nation’s as a whole.

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