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Durham leaders: Economy in good shape

BusinessWeek magazine recently ranked the Bull City the third-best city in America for "for riding out the recession."

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DURHAM, N.C. — The Bull City's economy is in good shape to weather a recession. That was the message from Durham leaders Tuesday at an annual breakfast on the city's financial well-being.

In fact, the Oct. 14 issue of BusinessWeek magazine ranked Durham the third-best city in America for "for riding out the recession" because of the city's large number of jobs in government, education and health care.

"A lot of those employers are not the kind that are going to go out of business or move overseas," said John Hodges-Copple, planning director for the Triangle J Council of Governments.

Leaders said the city towers over others in the area with $730 million in announced investments and, as of September, a 5.4 percent unemployment rate, compared with the state's 6.8 percent rate and the 6.0 percent U.S. rate.

More highlights from the city's economic report, highlighting growth over the past 10 years:

  • The city's population has increased by more than 25 percent.
  • The number of people employed in Durham County grew 13 percent, despite current financial crises and national business closures.
  • Visitor spending nearly doubled, with 73 percent spending on leisure and 27 percent on business.