Leaders disagree with Albany's ranking in 24/7 Wall Street worst cities article

Leaders disagree with Albany's ranking in 24/7 Wall Street worst cities article

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An article by 24/7 Wall Street and shared by USA Today listed the country's top 10 worst cities to live in with Albany ranking 7th, but city leaders disagree.

The article's data is two years old and Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said he's seen a lot of changes in the area.

"Even though we do have challenges here in Albany, we also have opportunities and there's potential," said Persley. "With our quality of life, I think it's pretty good. It's a good place to make a living."

The article highlights the unemployment rate in Albany, stating:

The city's annual unemployment rate is 7.9%, compared to the 5.3% national unemployment rate. Similarly, while the U.S. workforce grew by 4.0% between 2013 and 2015, total employment in Albany declined by 1.7% over the same period, the second largest employment decline out of the 551 cities reviewed.

But Reedi Hawkins, the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission's director of marketing, said that unemployment is an issue in rural areas all over the country.

"That's something we know is a challenge in our area. It's a challenge to rural America in general," explained Hawkins. "Not just rural, Georgia, not just Albany. It's being addressed on a national, on a state level and specifically here in Albany."

Whether you agree or disagree, city leaders are defending the city's potential.

"The study doesn't know what happened when the flood come," City Commissioner BJ Fletcher said. "It doesn't know what happened when the twin storms hit. It doesn't know our heart."

Albany Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Rivera Holmes said pro-business lobbying and new initiatives like the 4C Academy are a step in the right direction for Albany.

"You'll see them across the state and across the country, but what does differentiate us at this point is what we're doing about some of these challenges," Rivera Holmes said.

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