Forbes Called Asheboro A Dying Town, Is It?

4:34 PM, Sep 11, 2012   |    comments
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Asheboro, N.C. - When a national magazine says your town is dying, people get nervous, defensive and even confused at what is reality and what is simply being said. Forbes Magazine called Asheboro a "dying town" back in 2008.

Back then, people there said it wasn't true. Four years later, Asheboro is still on the map. But, how is the town?

The unemployment rate in Randolph County was 3.1 percent in 2000. By 2010, it had climbed to 10.2 percent. The poverty rate was 9.1 percent in 2000. From 2006 to 2010, it climbed to 12.9 percent. All of those numbers were provided by the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation.

However, despite those increases, the population also rose. 21,672 people lived there in 2000. The number jumped to 25,012 in 2010.

So, News 2 asked the president of Randolph Community College what's really going on.

"I could name you 50 towns in North Carolina that are in a lot worse shape than Asheboro ever was. This is a great community. One of the things, I think, that skewed those figures is that there was a fairly large influx of the immigrant population here," Dr. Robert Shackleford, president of Randolph Community College, said.

The college knows manufacturing has changed. So, it trains students to work for new jobs that exist today and those that will come in the future. It's not about turning wrenches anymore. It's about critical thinking and computer programming skills.

Instructor Mitchell Kiser said, "In manufacturing today, we have to be able to change very quickly and we have to be able to produce stuff in a manner in which we can compete globally."

People in town also mentioned Malt-o-Meal opened a plant there and invested a quarter of a billion dollars. Even though unemployment and poverty rates are up, people argue this is only a slice of time. The only way to truly know what the town's fate will be is to wait and see what happens over time.

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