ORIENTAL, N.C. (WNCT) — Pamlico County was hit hard by COVID-19, just like other parts of Eastern North Carolina.
Some key economic indicators tell county leaders hope is on the horizon.
“Our economy has been a mixed bag,” said Beth Bucksot, director for planning and economic development.
Pamlico County has had plenty of ups and downs over the past year.
“We’ve had some businesses struggling, and some are thriving,” said Bucksot.
Many stores closed because of mandatory shutdowns. The county canceled events that usually draw tourists and their dollars
Now, leaders say there’s hope.
“We look at our sales tax, and we budgeted for that number to be low, and what we’ve seen is it sustained and, in some cases, exceeded what it did the prior year,” said Tim Buck, Pamlico County manager.
That means people are shopping and dining in their local communities. Real estate sales are on the rise too, jumping up at least 40% over the last year.
“Obviously people have time on their hands to look for property,” said Bucksot. “In COVID, when you live in a bigger area, that’s more risky.”
The demand for Airbnb and other rental properties is helping the local economy too. Economic development leaders are now focused on helping businesses keep up the growth with state and federal funding.
“Small areas often lack resources, but one of the benefits of being a small area is people tend to know each other and collaborate well together and help take care of each other,” said Bucksot.