Despite the grumbling by various area developers that Athens is hostile to business, Forbes.com has ranked the Athens metro area #33 of the Best Small Places for Business and Careers.
Athens ranks the highest of small Georgia towns. Auburn, Alabama, is number 18.
Here's what the website says:
Athens-Clarke County, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area At a Glance
- Metro Population: 196,500
- Major Industries: Tourism, Agribusiness
- Gross Metro Product: $8.4 B
- Median Household Income:$42,498
- Median Home Price: $122,300
- Unemployment: 6.2%
- Job Growth (2012): 1.4%
- Cost of Living: 6.5% below nat'l avg
- College Attainment: 33.5%
- Net Migration (2012): 600
The University of Georgia is located in the city of Athens, which was responsible for the initial growth of the city and still continues to have a significant influence on the surrounding area. Culture within Athens is generated from the coexistence with the university students in creating an art and music scene and intellectual environment. The city has music venues, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that cater to its creative climate. Points of interest in the city include one of the remaining two double barreled cannons produced during the Civil War, the “Tree That Owns Itself,” the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and the University of Georgia Arboretum. A unique and defining feature of the city is its annual bicycle races which are collectively known as the Twilight Series.