Published: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 08:00 AM.
Onslow County is America’s fastest-growing county over the past five years, according to a federal agency that tracks economics.
Total personal income in Onslow climbed 55.5 percent, from $5.3 billion in 2006 to $8.3 billion in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Total personal income is defined as the amount of money earned by all residents of a given area in a particular year.
Douglas County, Colo., a Denver suburb, ranked No. 2. Rounding out the top five were Loudoun County, Va.; Paulding County, Ga.; Fort Bend County, Texas; and Pinal County, Ariz.
Wayne County, Mich., home to Detroit, is last on the list.
Onslow’s booming economy is fueled by Marines and sailors stationed at Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station, according to a recent report in the Charlotte Business Journal.
But that’s just a third of the story, said Shelia Pierce, director of Jacksonville-Onslow Economic Development.
“Our economy is powered by the U.S. Marine Corps, of course, but Onslow County also has a wide agricultural base and its tourism, which is beginning to be recognized at the national level, is a major component as well,” she said.
The military, agriculture and tourism are the top three economic areas for North Carolina, which bodes well that they are also the top for Onslow County, she said.
“Our local economy will stay secure for some time,” Pierce said, adding that now is the time to invest in infrastructure.
Onslow County Manager Jeff Hudson said growth in the county has been pronounced in the past few years.
“Information from our tax office and our building inspections offices verify that fact,” he said.
Onslow County’s total estimated tax base is $13.2 billion, said Harry Smith, the county tax administrator.
Hudson said an increasing county population has begun to strain the services provided by local government. But he said the county is committed to providing services to the expanding population as efficiently as possible.
“Onslow remains committed to high quality local government,” he said.
Contact Daily News Senior Reporter Lindell Kay at 910-219-8455 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter and friend him on Facebook @ 1lindell.