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Laurel moves up 22 spots in national ranking of micropolitans

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Policom Corporation, which specializes in studying the dynamics of local economies in order to determine if an area is growing or declining, has released its “2012 Economic Strength Rankings.”

According to the report, the Laurel micropolitan statistical area was ranked 66th out of the nation’s 576 micros, which is the fourth highest of Mississippi’s 20 micros. The Laurel micro rank moved up from 88th last year. The Laurel micro includes the City of Laurel and other parts of Jones and Jasper counties.

Other micro rankings for areas in Mississippi are Oxford at 33rd, Columbus at 46th, Tupelo at 65th, Meridian at 138th, Vicksburg at 143th, Brookhaven at 180th, Starkville at 182nd, Corinth at 283rd, West Point at 329, Picayune at 346th, Greenwood at 390th, McComb at 416th, Grenada at 488th, Cleveland at 491st, Natchez at 498th, Yazoo City at 535th, Greenville at 563rd, Clarksdale at 566th and Indianola at 570th.

Larger, more populated areas are called metropolitan statistical areas, or metros. There are 366 metros in the nation and four in Mississippi. Those rankings are completely separate from the micro rankings, but consider the same factors. Mississippi’s metro areas and their rankings are Jackson at 77th, Gulfport/Biloxi at 232nd, Hattiesburg at 241st and Pascagoula at 245th.

The analysis measures 23 different economic factors over a 20-year period to create the rankings. Some of the issues considered are: overall growth and size of the economy, what people earn that influence their standard of living, how the economy is behaving as it relates to small business, construction and retail growth and negative factors such as welfare and Medicaid.

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