The Walton Family Foundation has listed Douglas in the top 100 Most Dynamic Micropolitan areas of the nation. In its February 2019 report, Most Dynamic Micropolitans, the foundation analyzed all 531 micropolitan areas in the United States. Douglas ranked 75th overall. That places the city in the top 15 percent nationally. It should also be noted that Douglas was ranked third of all micropolitan areas in Georgia, behind Calhoun ranked 20th and Jefferson ranked 27th.
A micropolitan area is defined as a labor market area in the United States centered on an urban cluster (urban area) with a population of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.
Within the individual metrics, Douglas’ rankings were a mixed bag. The city ranked 45th in Personal Income Growth from 2015 to 2016, 50th in Average Annual Pay Growth from 2016 to 2017, 59th in Job Growth from 2015 to 2016, and 70th in Job Growth from 2012 to 2016.
John Henry, CEO of the Douglas-Coffee Economic Development Authority stated, “It is not a great surprise that Douglas ranked so high out of all of the micropolitan areas. This community has a great reputation for job growth. However, it is imperative that we capitalize on this momentum and keep the jobs and community growing. One of our biggest goals now is to raise the income levels and encourage more of our residents to participate in the labor market. We are seeing some great jobs available in the market right now and our employers are eager to fill those positions. There are a lot of training and employment resources available for our residents to take advantage of this great labor market.”
The report states, “Most Dynamic Micropolitans rankings are derived from performance-based metrics such as job growth, wage and income gains, and a new metric, the proportion of total jobs at young firms. This measure captures which communities are creating meaningful jobs for their residents and those that might desire to in-migrate.”
Douglas has previously been named as one of the top 10 micropolitan cities in the U.S. for new and expanding industrial facilities for by Site Selection magazine, the official publication of the Global FDI Association and the Industrial Asset Management Council. Douglas ranked number 10 on the list in 2017.