PALM COAST — Flagler County’s biggest city is getting more recognition of the positive kind. After IHS Global Insight recognized Palm Coast in June as a metro area with the ninth fastest-growing economy in the nation, Forbes magazine has now put the city No. 7 on its list of the “Best Small Places for Business and Careers."
Citing the city’s low cost for business, high potential for job growth and the educational attainment of its residents, the national business publication placed Palm Coast on the list ahead of Dubuque, Iowa, Lafayette, Indiana, and Auburn, Alabama.
Fargo, North Dakota, was No. 1. The magazine in its description of the Palm Coast metro area, noted local efforts to grow the tourism and technology industries.
Palm Coast was also recently ranked by Beyond.com as the 10th easiest place in the country to make a hire. The national recognition comes despite Flagler County having the state’s second highest unemployment rate. Local leaders say the recent rankings are a welcome change from a few years ago when, during the Great Recession, the county was considered one of the hardest hit in the nation.
Helga van Eckert, executive director of the Flagler County Department of Economic Opportunity, said the Forbes ranking shows the county’s economic development efforts are paying off. “Much of the growth they are seeing comes from projects like Coastal Cloud, AVEO Engineering and TBD Partners,” she said. “We have a growing high-tech presence here and Flagler County has been able to attract very qualified individuals in this field.”