Expanded Salisbury MSA Indicates Growing Economic Strength of Four Counties

A delmarvanow article reported on the growing economic strength of four counties (Sussex, Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset) due in part to the redrawing of the Salisbury metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

In February 2013, federal number-crunchers quietly added Worcester and Sussex counties to the existing MSA, which consisted of Wicomico and Somerset. Those additions boosted the MSA’s population from a sleepy-sounding 125,000 to a robust 380,000.

The expansion is symbolic of the increasing social and economic ties among the four counties. But it also could help make a real difference in whether corporations and retail chains decide to locate in the area, economic analysts say.

“We’re in a 300,000 market where people don’t mind to come to your location,” said Memo Diriker, founder of Salisbury University’s economic think tank. “You’re suddenly appearing on people’s radar screens.”

This increase in MSA size could help the area receive more federal funding for certain projects such as transportation improvements.  Part of the rationale for the expansion was the interconnectedness between the counties.

Additional “outlying” counties can be added if there is a strong enough commuting connection between them and the central county or counties.­

Wicomico and Sussex are now the two principal counties in the Salisbury MSA.

Somerset is part of it because it meets the 25 percent threshold of residents who work in the central counties, with 29.5 percent. Worcester meets another bar set by the OMB: having at least 25 percent of its employment accounted for by workers who reside in the central counties.

Each day, Worcester receives 2,364 workers from Sussex and 4,436 from Wicomico. Taken together, they represent 25.8 percent of Worcester’s workforce.

For the full article, visit the delmarvanow.com website.

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