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More people commute out of Stanly for jobs than into the county

Over the last two decades, Stanly County has seen an increase in the number of people commuting out of Stanly for work than into the county, according to data from the Centralina Workforce Board and the county.

Centralina Workforce Board examined commuter data over three periods: 2000, 2006-2010 and 2009-2013. The data revealed the gap between people commuting to other counties as opposed to people commuting to Stanly.

For each period, there was a greater than 2-to-1 number of outflow commuters than inflow. The greatest discrepancy was from 2006 to 2010 when 9,535 people commuted out of the county compared to only 3,175 people that commuted into the county.

Over the three periods, the largest outflows were to Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union, while the largest inflows were from Rowan, Anson and Montgomery.

In 2000, 270 people commuted to work in Anson while 452 commuted to Stanly. The trend completely reversed itself from 2009 to 2013 — 391 people commuted to Anson while only 333 people commuted to Stanly.

The overall number of people who live and work in Stanly dropped during the three periods. In 2000, 18,742 people lived and worked in the county, but that dropped to 15,558 from 2009-2013.

The number of people living and working in Stanly has continued to decrease.

According to the most recent commuting data in 2017, compiled by the county, only 9,572 people lived and worked in Stanly.

During the same year, the number of people commuting out of the county ballooned to 17,364. The number of people commuting into Stanly also increased to 9,437.

Data from a recent commuting study of Charlotte area counties from 2002 and 2015 conducted by the UNC Urban Institute also reveal more people commute out of the county than in.

Much of the commuting data can likely be explained by population trends.

Counties like Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Union, which have experienced major population increases over the last two decades, continue to attract a robust workforce from other counties.

Smaller counties like Montgomery and Anson, which have experienced population decreases over the same time, continue to see many of their residents seek jobs elsewhere.

Stanly, which has roughly 60,000 residents, lies somewhere in the middle. While the population has grown over the last two decades, it has been modest. The county has added roughly 4,000 people since 2000, according to U.S. Census data.

County Commissioner Chairman Matthew Swain is one of the residents who leaves the county for work.

He travels around 40 minutes to Montgomery, where he works for the school system.

“To me, I like commuting,” he said. “I don’t gain anything financially by commuting. I just enjoy the drive.”

Though Swain had worked for Stanly County Schools, he decided to work in Montgomery after he made the decision to run for county commissioner.

“I didn’t want to represent the county and work for the school system,” he said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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