Tonight I attended a meeting of the Independent Communicators Alliance, a local group made up of writers, graphic designers, and PR specialists. We had several visitors who had recently moved here from New Jersey, Maine, and Pennsylvania. My new next-door neighbors just moved to Raleigh from Rhode Island. Perhaps it was the result of the recent news that Raleigh was the fastest growing city in the US in 2008 on the basis of percentage of population and a national TV news clip on Durham.
Well, folks that’s old news. The slow down has hit North Carolina and the layoffs, foreclosures, rises in unemployment and cutbacks even in state and municipal government are continuing. So if you think we’re the mecca you may be seeking, you may be disappointed. We have a glut of high-rise condos coming on the market, and housing construction has slowed significantly with some local builders and developers in bankruptcy.
We used to talk about the snowbirds coming South for the winter to enjoy their retirement, and the number of retirees moving to North Carolina continues to grow but most of them are permanent residents and not just winter vacationers. In the past decade we’ve had a tremendous growth in retirement communities, continuing care communities, golf course residential developments, etc. One of the newest and largest golf course communities that is only partially completed in North Raleigh was just recently sold in bankruptcy court.
So what does that mean for writers? The local newspaper, a member of the McClatchy chain, continues to lay-off staff and to cut the printed edition and to build the online edition. We continue to see a growth in local periodicals that also are cutting into their advertising revenue. We have lots of writers in the Triangle who publish both fiction and non-fiction and write books as well magazine articles, and most of them have established clientele or markets. The little town of Hillsborough northwest of Raleigh is a haven for regional writers. The three major universities in the area house a large contingent of teachers who also are writers, perhaps the most famous being Reynolds Price. In other words, we have lots of competition.
We always have a beautiful spring so come visit but don’t expect an exception to the national recession even though the national media is touting us as countercyclical.