For the fourth consecutive year, the Pinehurst-Southern Pines micropolitan holds the top spot for micropolitan areas in North Carolina, according to the 2021 Economic Strength report published by Policom. The Pinehurst-Southern Pines micropolitan is a statistical area that includes all of Moore County.
By definition, a micropolitan area has an urban center of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people. Policom, a Florida-based consulting firm, measures 23 different economic factors that determine how an economy has behaved over an extended period of time. Economic strength is evaluated on the basis of the area’s long-term tendency to grow in both size and quality.
In Policom’s report issued in late January, data from 2000 to 2019 (most current data available) placed the Pinehurst-Southern Pines micropolitan in the No. 1 slot for North Carolina and 53rd out of 543 micropolitan areas across the country.
“We are an anomaly. The two key sectors that drive us are tourism and healthcare,” said Pat Corso, executive director of Partners in Progress, Moore County’s economic development arm. “When you look at our goods and services, we are a hub. We attract substantial interest for relocation, not only for retirement but people looking for a better quality of life. We have that and we have it in spades.
“We have three unique historic communities in our southern end that can accommodate a broad spectrum of economic opportunities,” he added.
Most recently, the United States Golf Association announced its plans for the $25 million Golf House Pinehurst facilities and Pinehurst No. 2 as the first anchor site for the U.S. Open Championships. In addition, FirstHealth of the Carolinas announced plans to construct a $68 million, 4-story comprehensive cancer center.
“We tend to trend up in terms of our economy because ours is steady and it has remained steady for 30 years or more,” Corso said. “That Policom has recognized us for four consecutive years as the top micropolitan in North Carolina indicates that we are in the right place and right where we need to be. We are very relevant as a community.”
It is this consistent economic strength and resilience that helps Moore County more evenly weather the effects of epic events like the pandemic.
To view the complete 2021 Policom Economic Strength rankings report, visit
(Original story by Laura Douglass, The Pilot)