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Durham Leaders Examine Economic Trends in Annual Report

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DURHAM — Over the years, a lot has changed in Durham -- in the city and in the county. Those changes are a mixed bag, but a new report shows some encouraging signs.

Tuesday morning, hundreds of people gathered to learn the results of Durham's third annual State of the Economy report. Everything from jobs to income to housing in Durham County has been analyzed over the past year.

Some of the findings:
  • The unemployment rate in Durham County is the lowest on record at 1.9 percent. The cost of buying a house is on the rise. New home prices increased 21 percent compared to the same period last year. The average new home costs about $200,000. Salaries are also on the rise. The average job in Durham County pays more than any other in the state at close to $44,000 a year. That is at least $10,000 more than in Wake and Orange counties.Expanding wealth across the county is the biggest challenge facing city and county leaders. Officials hope if they build the roads, the jobs and people will come.
  • "Infrastructure is certainly the biggest hurdle on the horizon for the whole region, so we have to take care of that or the economic success we've seen over the last decades can't continue indefinitely," says Ted Abernathy, economic development director.

    City and county leaders who conducted the study say they will present the numbers, but it is up to individuals to evaluate what is good and bad.

    For example, rising home prices may be good for the real estate industry, but bad for people in the market for a new home.

    Anyone interested in a free copy of the study can call919-560-4965. It will also be available online later in the day.