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Full text of "Population & economy, Sylva, North Carolina"

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http://www.archive.org/details/populationeconomOOsylv 



PREPARED FOR 

TOWN OF SYLVA, NORTH CAROLINA 
ROSCOE POTEET, MAYOR 
Board of Aldermen 

B j orn Ah 1 in 
Edwin Allison 
Grayson Cope 
Her ber t Land i s 
Andrew Wilson 

PREPARED BY 

SYLVA PLANNING BOARD 

Col. T. A. Fuller, Chairman 

Roger Dillard 
Paul Holt, Jr. 
A . T . Murray 
Mrs. John Parris 



TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FROM 

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION 
*Richard M. Yearwood, Executive Director 



or, Community Planner 
ningham, Community Planner 
us sat, Community Planner 
n, Community Planner 
trong. Community Planner 

Research Planner 
Research Assistant 
s. Design Planner 
ook, Chief Draftsman 

Dra ft sman 

Dra f t sman 
or , Dra f t sman 
s , Dra ft sman 

S ecr e ta ry 
son , Secretary 



Dan C, 


, Vism 


Charles Cun: 


Char 1 e s S io 


Sam Jerniga: 


Harron Arms 


Le e Armour , 


Joyce 


Ray, : 


Roger 


Brigg 


Jame s 


Holbn 


*Larry 


Ward, 


Jame s 


Cole, 


Herman Rect( 


*Ma r V in Adam 


Norma 


Reid, 


*Cecile John 



■Pro ject Staff 



INTRODUCTION 



Sylva, a town of 1,564 people, is located in the midst of 
the scenic grandeur of the western North Carolina mountains. The 
town's beginnings go back to 1879, when General E. R. Hampton 
built a house and a store close to the sawmill he owned on Scotts' 
Creek, with the aim of starting a town. A post office was ob- 
tained the same year, and the settlement was named by General 
Hamton' s youngest daughter, Mae, for William D. Sylva, an itin- 
erant young Dane who made many friends in Webster and on Scotts' 
Creek before drifting on to Texas to seek his fortune. The Town 
of Sylva was chartered by the General Assembly in 1889. 

Sylva has a favored location, as the map on page 2a shows. 
It is served by the Asheville - Murphy line of the Southern Rail- 
way, is intersected by one major highway, U.S. 19A-23, and is 
close to another, U.S. 441. Portions of these roads have recently 
been reworked, but further imp rov emen t *i s desirable. In addition, 
NC 107, which runs into Sylva from South Carolina and carries the 
traffic from the southern portion of the county, is inadequate, 
even antiquated. It surely needs improvement on into Whit tier. 
Western Carolina College is located on NC 107 at Cullowhee, only 
seven miles from Sylva. The college produces a large volume of 
traffic on this road, and is heavily traveled from Cullowhee to 
Sylva, the town which serves the college. 

These roads provide access for residents throughout the 
whole region, and they also carry numbers of travellers who come 
to the area to enjoy the scenery and the various tourist attrac- 
tions. Sylva and Jackson County have a vast tourism and recrea- 
tion potential, but the network of highways in the county will 
have to be greatly improved if the full potential is to be realized. 



The county seat was at Webster until 1913, when the rail- 
road came through Sylva instead of Webster, as anticipated, C. J. 
Harris offered to build a new courthouse and jail in Sylva if the 
county seat were moved, and it was done that same year. The com- 
ing of the railroad, in addition to bringing the county seat to 
Sylva, doubtless encouraged the various economic enterprises that 
helped Sylva to grow, particularly those that made use of timber 
and Jackson County's other natural resources. 

The Mead Corporation, which came to Sylva in 1928, is its 
largest industry. It provides jobs for 260 people and buys pulp- 
wood from many more in the county. Meads' 1964 payroll of 
$1,750,000 plus the purchase of pulpwood, shows its contribution 
to the Sylva and Jackson County economies. Agriculture, lumber, 
and apparel are other important segments of the economy, and fur- 
niture manufacture is likely to become important in the very near 
future. Tourism, recreation, and seasonal residents add substan- 
tially to the economy, as do governmental employment (particularly 
the Fourteenth Division Office, State Highway Commission at Web- 
ster) and Western Carolina College, a major economic asset that 
doubtless will continue to expand. 



KY. cz ^L-^'- . - V ^ y.' 



SYLVA 

NORTH CAROLINA 



BRISTAL (42 Ij 




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CLARKESVILLE 



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IN ITS REGIONAL SETTING 



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THE POPULATION 



Trends 

Comparisons of population trends in Sylva, Sylva Township, 
Jackson County, and North Carolina are in Table I, which shows 
that Sylva has experienced at least a moderate population in- 
crease over every decade since 1910, except for the 1940-1950 
decade. From 1940 to 1950 Sylva lost twenty-seven persons, for 
a 1.92 7„ population loss. Even so, the Sylva Township enjoyed a 
10.49% increase during that period, indicating that growth oc- 
curred around, instead of in, the Town of Sylva. 

In the last decade the situation was reversed; Sylva Town- 
ship had no population change whatever from 1950 to 1960, but 
the Town of Sylva gained 182 people, an increase of 13.16%. 

Sylva's population growth of the past decade is in keeping 
with the general trend in the state, the southeast, and the na- 
tion. Sylva's gain contrasts with the county population trend, 
however. The county experienced a 7.69% population loss from 1950 
to 1960. The trend in the county was growth until 1940, when the 
population high of 19,366 was attained. Then the decline began, 
with a slight loss (less than one percent) over the 1940-1950 
decade, followed by the aforementioned 7.69% drop in the last 
decade. The county's population now is almost exactly the same 
as it was in 1930, but the Sylva population is 16.7% greater 
now than in 1930. 



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Age Composition 

In addition to the necessity for having knowledge about 
the trends in the number of people in a community over a period 
of time, it is important to know something about the composition 
of that population. The composition of a community's population 
changes, and it is necessary to know what that composition has 
been for the past few years. 

It is understood that a community with a healthy, devel- 
oping economy can hold its own high school and college graduates 
and attract other young people. Therefore, a growing community 
would have a large proportion of young, productive people in its 
population. 

The situation in Sylva, as shown in the population pyra- 
mid. Chart I, does not appear to be particularly healthy. The 25- 
44 age category, considered the most productive group in the so- 
ciety, shows fewer people in 1960 than in 1950. This is true for 
both sexes. The chart also shows that there was a marked increase 
in those people forty-five years old and over from 1950 to 1960. 
Finally, there was little change over the decade in the number of 
people in the 5-24 age group, but there was a significant decrease 
in the 0-4 group, particularly the males. 

All this indicates a loss of people in the productive 
years, an increase of elderly people, and, due to the failure of 
the young child-bearing group to grow, a decline in the youngest 
age c a t e go r y . 

This is a disturbing finding, but it appears that if 
steps now being taken (*) to counteract this tendency of the 
young people to leave the town are effective, Sylva can expect 
a reasonable degree of growth over the next several years. 

(*)(See the Summary) 

-5- 



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Table II shows the age composition of the population in 
Sylva and Jackson County for comparative purposes. The finding 
for Sylva differs from that of the county in two particulars. The 
county had heavy losses in the first two categories, the 0-14 and 
15-44 groups, but Sylva had a gain of 11.7°/, in the 0-14 category 
and only a slight loss (1.17o) .in the 15-44 group. The county had 
sizeable increases in the 45-64 and the 65 and over groups, but 
these increases were relatively small compared to Sylva's gain of 
32.3% and 68.9% in the 45-64 and 65 and over groups, respectively. 
In sum, the county as a whole had a much greater loss in the 0-44 
group, but the Town of Sylva had a significant gain in the group 
45 and ove r . 

Sex Ratio 

There were more females than males in Sylva in 1960, just 
as in 1950. Table III provides the numbers of males and females 
in each age category in 1950 and 1960. It shows that females out- 
numbered males over the decade; there was a 3.26%, decrease in the 
number of females in the child-bearing group over the period; and 
females in the 25-44 category comprises a smaller proportion of 
the total female population in 1960 than in 1950, 42.5%. as against 
50.3%. 



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-7- 



AGE AND SEX COMPOSITION OF THE POPULATION 
SYLVA, 1950 AND 1960 





RY 




1? 


50 

FEMALES 




ic 


60 

FEI 




AGE 


MALES 


MALES 


■lALES 


CATEGC 


NUMBER 


PERCENT 


NUMBER 


PERCENT 


NUMBER 


PERCENT 


NUMBER 


PERCENT 


0-4 




88 


13.53 


67 


9.5 


86 


11.79 


70 


8.36 


5-14 




117 


18.00 


111 


15. 16 


130 


17.88 


142 


16.96 


15-24 




82 


12.61 


129 


17.62 


105 


14.44 


134 


16.00 


25-35 




98 


15.07 


125 


17 .07 


97 


13 .34 


108 


12.90 


35-44 




107 


16.46 


114 


15.57 


90 


12.37 


114 


13.62 


45-54 




68 


10.46 


80 


10.92 


92 


12.65 


101 


12.06 


55-64 




54 


8.30 


52 


7. 10 


66 


9.07 


77 


9. 19 


65 + 




36 


5.55 


54 


7.37 


61 


8.39 


91 


10.87 


TOTAL 




650 


100.0 


732 


100.0 


727 


100.0 


837 


100.0 


TABLE 


III 



















STYLE OF LIVING 



It is helpful to know as much as possible about the kind 
of life the population of a community enjoys, and this knowledge 
comes largely from a survey of income, education, and housing 
levels. 

Income 

Income measures for the Town of Sylva are not available 
because the Census Bureau does not compile such data for towns 
of less than 2500 people. 

The discussion of income necessarily, therefore, centers 
on Sylva Township, for which data is available. It is only rea- 
sonable to assume that in this case the Town of Sylva has quite 
an effect on the income levels of the whole Township. 

There are three basic methods of measuring income in a 
given area. These are mean family income, which is simply total 
family income divided by the total number of families; median 
family income, which indicates a dividing point with half the 
families earning more and half the families less than this figure; 
and per capita income, which is the total income of all families 
and individuals divided by the total population. Per capita in- 
come may be the better index because it shows the "average" earn- 
ings for each person. 

People in the Sylva Township -- and therefore, by exten- 
sion, the people in the Town of Sylva - enjoy a comparatively high 
income level, however measured. Chart II shows that the mean, 
median, and per capita figures for Sylva Township are higher than 
those for any other Township in the County, higher than Jackson 
County, and higher than rural North Carolina. The Township also 
compares favorably with figures for the state of North Carolina; 
Sylva Township has a higher per capita and higher median income 
than the state as a whole, and has a mean income that is almost 
equal to the state figure. 

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The income level in Sylva could be higher, however. Gen- 
erally speaking, the Southeast has lower income levels than the 
rest of the nation. See the U. S. averages in Chart II. North 
Carolina does not boast a high rank within the Southeast, and 
the mountainous Western North Carolina region occupies a low 
position in the state. Jackson County, 82nd in per capita income 
in the state in 1949, rose to 56th rank in 1959, thus experiencing 
a 6.95% annual rate of change. Income levels in Sylva Township, 
although they compare favorably with the other townships and with 
the county, still could be improved. 

It is also good to know, in addition to the above mea- 
sures, just how the income in a community is distributed. Table 
IV shows that the Sylva Township has fewer families in the low in- 
come group, more families in the middle groups, and more families 
in the higher income group than do Jackson County, Rural North 
Carolina, or the State. Table IV shows at a glance the compara- 
tive income distributions in Sylva Township and the other selected 
areas . 

Educa t ion 

The educational level of a community is important be- 
cause of the close relation between education and income. Gener- 
ally speaking, the more years of formal education one possesses 
the better job he has, the higher his income, the finer his home, 
and so on. There can be no doubt of the importance of education, 
particularly in the present age of technology, complexity, and 
specialization. 

Sylva Township compares favorably with other townships, 
Jackson County, Rural North Carolina, and North Carolina when it 
comes to the educational level of the populace. There are several 



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measures of educational level, but one that is often used is the 
median number of school years completed. Table V gives complete 
figures for Sylva Township and other selected areas. Sylva Town- 
ship, with 9,8 median school years completed, is ahead of Jackson 
County (8»0), Rural North Carolina (8.3), North Carolina (8.9), 
and just under the 10.4 for Urban North Carolina and 10.7 for the 
Un itedStates. 

The table shows that Sylva Township is in a better posi- 
tion than any of the other areas in a comparison of the number of 
people with no schooling. The Township also has proportionately 
fewer people with 0-4 years of school, and it has more people with 
twelve or more years of school than any selected comparative area, 
save Urban North Carolina. The educational level of people in the 
Sylva Township is fairly high at the present time, 

Sylva is fortunate in having the Technical Institute (at 
Webster) and Western Carolina College (at Cullowhee) so close by. 
These institutions provide the skilled and educated people so nec- 
essary to the growth and prosperity of any area and so desirable 
to new aconomic enterprises that might locate in or near the town. 

The Town of Sylva needs to be careful to attract and to 
hold — not lose — productive young people. 



-12- 



EDUCATIONAL DATA, ADULTS 25 YEARS AND OVER 
JACKSON COUNTY, SYLVA TOWNSHIP, AND OTHER SELECTED AREAS, 

1960 

N. C. URBAN N.C. RURAL N. C. JACKSON COUNTY SYLVA TWP. 



Persons 25+ 


100 


0% 


100 


0% 


100 


0% 


100 


0% 


No S 


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3 


1 


2 


5 


3 


5 


3 


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1-4 


years 


13 


4 


10 


6 


15 


4 


14 


4 


5-7 


years 


24 


9 


19 


9 


28 


5 


31 


5 


8 


years 


9 


3 


8 


8 


9 


7 


9 


1 


High 


School : 


















1-3 


yea r s 


17 





17 


4 


16 


7 


14 


5 


4 


years 


18 


9 


20 


8 


17 


5 


15 


4 


College: 


















1-3 


years 


7 


1 


10 


2 


H 


9 


5 


4 


4 


years + 


6 


3 


9 


8 


3 


8 


6 


4 



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2.3 

10.5 

23.8 
9.6 

14.7 
22.5 

6.8 
9.8 



MEDIAN SCHOOL 8.9 
YEARS COMPLETED 



10.4 



9.8 



% 0-4 years 13.4 10.6 
% 12 years + 32.3 40.7 



15.4 
26.2 



17.7 
27.1 



12.9 
39.4 



■13- 



Ho using 

The quality of housing in a town is another important con- 
sideration in determining how well the residents are living. 

The 1960 survey of housing conducted by the Bureau of the 
Census reported a total of 534 housing units in the Town of Sylva. 
Of this number, 442, or 82o87o, were considered Sound, and 394 units 
had complete plumbing facilities. Fifty-six houses (10.5%) were 
classified Deteriorating, and thirty-six houses (6.7%) were Dil- 
apidated. 

Housing conditions in Sylva compare very favorably with 
those in Sylva Township and -^ackson County, as Table VI shows. The 
Town has proportionately more Sound and less Deteriorating and Dil- 
apidated housing than the rest of the township or Jackson County, 

A survey of housing conditions can indicate a number of 
things, but usually a high percentage of sound housing indicates 
a high income level for area residents and, concomitantly, a 
healthy economy; conversely, a large percentage of substandard 
houses in an area means that the economy does not operate at a 
sufficiently high level to provide an opportunity for the people 
to enjoy a good standard of living. There can be no doubt of the 
direct relation between the economy, income and education levels, 
and housing conditions. 

Sylva housing is relatively good. However, until every 
house in town is sound and has all plumbing facilities there is 
room for improvement and no reason for complacency. 



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THE ECONOMY 

A ^cudy o£ the economic activities of Sylva and the sur- 
rounding area should prove to be of great assistance in the planning 
program for Sylva Surveying the economic base will identify trends 
m town; short and long term provisions can then be made for growth 
or decline in various enterprises^ and Sylva can be ready to capital- 
ize on whatever opportunities exist- 

Emp 1 oymen t 

The total number of people employed in Jackson County 
dropped from 'j'JSO in 1950 to 5286 in 1960, but an increase of al- 
most 900 jobs by 1970 is projected, as shown in Table VII. 

Agriculture, forestry and fishery dominated the scene in 
1950, with '*b,i^°i. of the workers in the county, but employment in 
this category dropped over tne decade so that it comprised only 
10.^% of the total employment in I960,. 

Manufacturing .va s becoming important in 1950; there were 
more than a thousand workers, and that number increased by some 
three hundred by 1960. Manufacturing, construction, transportation, 
commerce, personal and professional services, have all increased in 
employment since 1940, though some of these are still employing rel- 
atively small numbers of people. 

Manufacturing, construction, commerce and professional ser- 
vices employed the largest number of people in 1960, and the projec- 
tion indicates that this will also be the case in 1970. See Table 
VII for the 1950 and 1960 figures and for the 1970 projection. 



-16- 



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Occupational data for Jackson County and for Sylva Town- 
ship are given in Table VIII. The Township and County have almost 
identical proportions of workers in the various occupations. In 
percentages, Sylva Township has fewer farmers and farm managers, 
of course, and has more professional, technical and kindred work- 
ers, more clerical and kindred workers, and more service workers 
than does Jackson County. 

One conclusion that may be drawn from the data in Table 
VIII is that the economy of Sylva, as reflected in occupational 
employment in the Township, is not very far advanced. An advanced 
economy would have greater proportions of service, clerical, and 
sales workers, managers, and professional and technical personnel. 

Agr icul ture 

Farming, long the way of life for most people in Jackson 
County, has not been for some years now the dominant factor in the 
county economy, at least not in terms of value added. The total 
value of farm products sold in 1959 was $1,287,000 compared to a 
value of $4,738,000 added by manufacture in 1958. 

The agricultural trends in Jackson County are indicated 
in Table IX. It is apparent that the number of farms, the acreage 
in farms, and the average size of farms has decreased since 1949, 
while the value of all crops and all farm products sold has stead- 
ily increased. Mechanization, improved techniques, and increased 
efficiency have led to greater productivity, on less land, and this 
increased agricultural productivity has been an important, though 
dominant, factor in the ecomony of the County and of Sylva. 



-18- 





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AGRICULTURAL TRENDS IN JACKSON COUNTY 



1949 



1954 



1959 



Number of Farms 2,260 

Acreage in Farms 128,018 

Average Size of Farms (acres) 56.6 

All Crops Sold $ 216,064 

Total Value of Farm 

Products Sold $ 701,972 



1 ,813 

148,505 

81.9 

$ 381, 101 



1, 137' 
81,519 
71.7 
$ 498,252 



$ 908,530 $ 1 ,287, 144 



The decrease due to a change after 1954 in the Census Bureau' 
definition of a "farm" is 427. 



TABLE IX 



-20- 



Table X compares the cash value of selected farm pro- 
ducts sold in Jackson County and in the State in 1954 and 1959, 
and indicates gain or loss in each category. Jackson County had 
a good gain in the value of all farm products sold, in livestock 
and livestock products, and in livestock and livestock products 
other than poultry and dairy products^ There was only a slight 
gain in forest products, because of th^ already high level of 
activity in that area Dairy product- had a sizeable loss, 
largely due to the drop from sixteen lo two dairies in the per- 
iod from 1954 to 1964. 

As for crop production, tobacco is the only major crop 
in the county as Table XI illustrates,, The dollar value of to- 
bacco was up 25,2°4 from 1960 to 1961, but all other crops -- save 
sweet potatoes -- were down „ Sweet potatoes showed a tremendous 
percentage gain, but the dollar value of the crop is so small as 
to render it insignificant. 

In view of the above findings, it seems that emphasis 
on livestock and poultry products offers the best hope for farm- 
ing in Jackson County. Vine-ripened tomatoes, Christmas trees, 
specialized row crops and "recreation farming" are also recom- 
mended. 



-21- 



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-22- 



CASH VALUE OF AGRICULTURAL CROPS 
JACKSON COUNTY, 1960 - 1961 



CROP 



1960 



1961 



% Charge 



Toba ceo 

Irish Potatoes 

Swee t Po ta toes 

Corn 

Oats 

All Hay 



$101 


200 


$126 


750 


+25.2 


53 


100 


48 


350 


-8.9 


1 


250 


2 


910 


+132.8 


210 


000 


136 


500 


-35.0 




290 




240 


-17.3 


191 


500 


176 


000 


-8.1 



TABLE XI 



-23- 



Ma nu factoring 

Manufacturing has been gaining in importance in the County 
over the past twa decades, both as a source of employment and in 
terms of v/alue added to the economy^, Table XII provides complete 
information on the number of employees in each manufacturing cate- 
gory for 1940, 1950, and 1960 The table shows that most of the 
jobs are in lumber and furniture and apparel, which jumped tremen- 
dously in the number of employees from 19'50 to 1960o The remainder 
of the jobs in manufacturing are scattered throughout the other cate- 
gories.: 

Additional jobs in manufacturing have been created in the 
County since 1960- Plants producing textiles, rugs, and brushes 
have provided about 100 new jobs, and a new furniture plant has been 
built to eventually employ 600 people. 

The County is aggressively moving to attract new industry, 
broaden its economic base, provide more jobs and thereby halt the 
outmlgration of its people. New manufacturing jobs m the County 
will create a demand for more support workers, housing, and various 
goods and services^ The Sylva economy can be and should be helped 
by the creation of new jobs. The Town must be alert to make the 
most of the opportunities. 

What of the long-term prospects of the industries that 
provide jobs for people in Sylva and Jackson County? 

All industries do not have the same potential. Some have 
glowing prospects for the future; others face decline, wh ich means 
a loss of jobs in the local economy- Some are better than others 
because their pay scales are higher, and they pump more money into 
the local economy^ 



-2i 



MANUFACTURING EMPLOYMENT, BY CATEGORY 
JACKSON COUNTY, 1950 - 1960 - 1970 



1950 



1960 



1970 



Manu facturing 

Lumber, Furniture, etc. 

Pr imar y me ta 1 s 

Fabricated metals 

Machinery, except electrical 

Electrical machinery 

Mo tor vehicles 

Other transportation 

Other durables 

Food 

Text i 1 e s 

Appa re 1 

Printing 

Chemi ca 1 

Other nondurables & not 
specified 



1 ,064 


1,333 


1,363 


469 


424 


378 


3 


- 


- 


4 


5 


6 


9 


- 


- 


1 


4 


7 


5 


- 


- 


- 


7 


14 


10 


19 


24 


28 


27 


33 


16 


51 


40 


6 


316 


343 


16 


35 


46 


4 


4 


5 



493 



441 



467 



TABLE XII 



-25- 



Textiles, apparel, wood products industries, and small 
scale farming are enterprises that face a decline in the next few 
years, considering the whole American economy. These and retail 
sales are also low pay industries. Unfortunately, the Jackson 
County economy — and to a great extent the Sylva economy — is 
based on small farming, lumber, furniture, and apparel. The in- 
crease in size and importance of these enterprises in Sylva and 
Jackson County is in direct contrast to the nationwide trend. 
Sylva and Jackson County must not pin their long range hopes solely 
on these industries. 

The Sylva and Jackson County economies will be in a much 
more advantageous position if growth industries such as metals, 
electronics, and defense industries can be attracted to the area 
to broaden the economic base. 

Wholesale and Retail Trade 

Trends in wholesale trade in Jackson County are shown in 
Table XIII. The number of establishments and the annual payroll 
were about the same in 1954 and in 1958, but there was a signifi- 
cant decrease in the number of employees, and sales were up only 
s 1 i gh t ly . 

The prospect for wholesale trade in the County is not 
particularly good. It is doubtful that any considerable growth 
will occur, due in part to Asheville's dominance of wholesale 
trade in the western part of the State. 

The retail trade trends in the County are a little more 
favorable. There was a decrease in the number of establishments 
from 1954 to 1958, but the number of employees, annual payroll, 
and annual sales were up. The increase in the amount of annual 
sales was a very modest one, however. 



■ 26- 



TRENDS IN WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE 
JACKSON COUNTY, 1954-1958 



1954 



1958 Percentage 
Change 



Who lesale Trade 

Number of establishments 

Annual payroll ($1,000) 

Annual Sales ($1,000) 

Number of employees 



7 


8 


+14,3 


91 


90 


-1.2 


2,052 


2,102 


+2.4 


34 


27 


-20.6 



Retail Trade 

Number of establishments 

Annual Payr o 11 ( $ 1 , 000 ) 

Annual sales ($1,000) 

Number of employees 



147 


143 


-2.7 


662 


840 


+ 26.9 


8,823 


9,407 


+6o6 


318 


445 


+3 9,9 



TABLE XIII 



-27- 



The dollar amount of recall sales by category is shown 
in Table XIV Sales, by food stores, eating and drinking places, 
general merchandise store, furniture and home furnishings stores, 
gasoline service stations, and drug stores increased, but in no 
c-iie did the rate of increase exceed tvfo per cent. There were 
losses in other c^itegories; sales declined in apparel and acces- 
sories, tne automotive group, and lumber and building materials. 

Problems in Retail S.^les 



The foregoing data ^nd comment indicate that all is not 
5.rell in ree?-.i business In Sylva and Jackson County, Sylva is not 
drawing e business it shouldc 

Ihe question of ho«; much bjsinesi Sylva should attract 
mighw be raised. To ansv^er that, it would be necessary to deter- 
mine what i'^e trade area for Sylva is and what it should be. The 
following factors must be considered in making that determination: 



;' 1 .' Distan'-e from various parts of Jackson County to 
nearby toiJns 

(i' Roads Tnd road conditions in Jackson and nearby 
CO un 1 1 e 5 > 

(2 _> Attracti-\'eness of nearby to'^ns business districtSo 

( U Sufficiency of the Sylva business district in terms 
of attractiveness, parking and traffic flow, as well 
as quality, availability, price and merchandising of 
goodi ■ 

v5' I)r:e ability of the merchants in Sylva to provide 
service for t-.e products they sell, as opposed to 
service provided on mer-handise bought in other 
towns ! 



■ 28- 



RETAIL SALES BY CATEGORY, 
JACKSON COUNTY, 1954 and 1958 



CATEGORY 



1954 


Pe r cen t 


1958 


Percent 


($1,000) 


of 
Total 


($1 ,000) 


of 
Total 


1,849 


20.9 


2,084 


22.2 


185 


2. 1 


377 


4.0 


1 , 127 


12.8 


1,383 


14.7 


624 


7.1 


338 


3.6 


310 


3.5 


472 


5.0 


2, 184 


24.8 


1 ,975 


21.0 


660 


7.5 


804 


8.5 


1, 168 


13.2 


1,073 


11.4 


255 


2.9 


313 


3,3 


437 


4.9 


560 


6.0 


24 


0.3 


28 


0.3 



Food stores 

Eating &c drinking places 

General merchandise 

Apparel, accessories 

Furniture, home furnishings 

Automotive group 

Gasoline service stations 

Lumber, building materials 

Drug stores 

Other retail stores 

Non-store retailers 



TOTAL SALES 



123 100.0 



9,407 



100.0 



TABLE XIV 



-29- 



Since Sylva is the only town of any size in Jackson 
County, it should be the focal point of retail trade and should 
draw most of the business in the County, Indications are that 
it does not. Analysis of Table XV, which shows the personal in- 
come - retail sales ratio for the county, indicates that Sylva 
is missing out on a great deal of retail business annually. The 
county as a whole gets more retail business than expected, but 
this does not mean that Sylva does. Retail sales data are not 
available for Sylva, so we cannot know exactly how much money is 
spent there in the town. We do know, however, that a large amount 
of retail sales money is spent outside Sylva, in other parts of 
the County. The Cashiers area, Cullowhee, and Qualla Township 
are areas that enjoy sizeable income from sources outside the 
county. This income balances that which is lost to Sylva. Some 
of the retail business that Sylva should get is being lost to 
Waynesville, Asheville, and even Canton and Franklin. There ap- 
pear to be two basic reasons for this loss. 

Roa ds . It is easier for people in some areas of the 
County to travel to one of the other towns rather than to Sylva, 
because of the mountains, the poor condition of the roads, and 
the bad weather in winter. 

The Sy 1 va C . B . D . The various deficiencies of the Cen- 
tral Business District in Sylva cause many County shoppers to go 
elsewhere to shop for such items as automobiles, appliances, and 
clothes. Non-competitive prices, poor merchandising, and limited 
selection of goods are the primary deficiencies the shopper sees 
in Sylva . 



■30- 



JACKSON COUNTY 
INCOME/SALES RATIO, 1949 and 1959 



1949 

Total Personal Income 59 207 000 

Total Retail Sales $6,354,000 

Expected Sales (using 67% ratio) $6,168,690 

Difference , +5 185,310 

1959 

Total Personal Income $16,635 000 

Total Retail Sales $10,301,000 

Expected Sales (using 677„ ratio) $10,097,450 

Difference +§ 203,550 



TABLE XV 



-31. 



These deficiencies are due in part to the peculiar lo- 
cation of the CBD. The ability of the Sylva CBD to expand is 
limited by topography and existing land use. The ability of a 
particular merchant to expand his facilities and thereby to offer 
a wider selection and better display of his stock is also limited. 
Limited too, is the financial ability of many of the merchants who 
might like to expand and improve their businesses. 

The trade potential for Sylva exists. The problem is 
how to turn that potential into increased business for the Town. 

Unemp loymen t 

Jackson County had an unemployment rate of 8 . 67o for males 
and 7 . 87o for females in 1960, as shown in Table XVI. Sylva Township 
had lower rates, 6.3% for males and 4.6% for females. The unemploy- 
ment situation in Sylva Township was obviously better than it was in 
the whole of Jackson County. 

According to recent bimonthly unemployment data compiled 
by the Employment Security Commission and shown in Table XVII, the 
situation in Jackson County has improved since 1960. The figures 
for 1963 and 1965 show an average five and one-half per cent unem- 
ployment rate. The validity of these figures seem questionable. 

One major factor in the County's economy is the very large 
amount of "hidden unemployment." This phrase means that many peo- 
ple who are without jobs do not show up in unemployment figures. 
They may have used up unemployment benefits, may have never worked 
on covered jobs, may have tired of looking for jobs, or in some 
cases, have never bothered to look for nonexistent jobs. 



■32- 



UNEMPLOYMENT DATA 



JACKSON COUNTY AND SYLVA TOWNSHIP, 1960 



JACKSON COUNTY 
Ma le Fema 1 e 



SYLVA TOWNSHIP 



Male 



Fema 1 e 



Civilian Labor Force 

Emp loyed 
Unemp loyed 

Percent of Labor Force 



3981 

3638 
3 43 

8.6 



1788 

1648 
140 



1065 

998 
67 

6.3 



608 

580 
28 

4.6 



TABLE XVI 



-33- 



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The magnitude of this hidden unemployment is shown by 
this comment from the U. S. Department of Labor in early 1964: 

" Out of every 1000 white men 25 to 64 years old, 

82 are not working, including 33 listed as unemployed 
and 49 not in the labor force."* 

This statement means that there is more hidden unemployment than 
there is of the visible variety. 

Another problem in the County is underemployment. This 
term refers to employment of individuals in jobs which do not 
challenge them, jobs that do not allow them to utilize fully all 
their training and their capabilities, and jobs in which there 
is little or no future for the individual. Underemployment is 
difficult to measure, but there can be no doubt that a good many 
people in Sylva and in Jackson County are not in jobs in which 
they can prove their abilities and can advance to better jobs and 
better pay. 

Both hidden unemployment and underemployment are present 
in the County and both exert quite an unfavorable influence on 
the Sylva economy. 

Worker Mobility 

A good many residents of Jackson County work outside the 
County. Table XVIII shows that there are 1,170 workers who go out- 
side the County to work; this is 22.9%, quite a sizeable segment of 
the County's labor force. 

Sylva Township has 170 workers who go outside the County to 
work. This is 11.08% of the labor force or just about half the per- 
centage for the County. Table XIX shows the place of work of Sylva 
Township residents who commute to jobs outside the County. The num- 
ber of Town and County residents who commute to jobs outside the 
County indicates the lack of employment opportunities in Sylva and 
in Jackson County. 



*U . S . Department of Labor, release dated March 10, 1964, 

-35- 



WORKER MOBILITY 
JACKSON COUNTY, 1960 



Number of Jackson County Residents 
Working in Other Counties, I960 



PLACE 



Ashe V i 1 1 e 25 

Balance of Buncombe County 31 

Greenvil le , S . C. 

Balance of Greenville County 

Jackson County 3934 

Swa inCounty 353 

Haywood County 282 

Transylvania County 24 

Ma con Coun ty 60 

Pickens County, S. C. . 4 

OconeeCounty,S.C. 8 

Rabun County, Ga • 9 

Henderson County 11 

Elsewhere 128 

Total reporting 4,869 

Not reporting 235 

Grand Total 5,104 

Number of Jackson County residents working 

outside the County 1,170 

Percent 22.9% 

TABLE XVIII 

-36- 



WORKER MOBILITY 
SYLVA TOWNSHIP, I960 



PLACE OF WORK 



NUMBER OF WORKERS 



Jackson County 

Ashev i 1 1 e 

Rest of Buncombe County 

Swa in Coun t y 

Haywood County 

Transylvania County 

Macon County 

Els ewher e 

Not Reported 



1363 



4 

7 

20 

62 

4 

8 

20 

45 



170 



1533 



TABLE XIX 



■37- 



F 



R 






T 



S 



SUMMARY 

Income, education, and housing levels in Sylva are rea- 
sonably high. All compare favorably with figures for Rural North 
Carol ina . 



Sylva may reasonably expect a small population increase 
over the next few years. If the Jackson County economy does not 
ultimately expand and prosper, however, Sylva cannot expect to grow 
very much because the Sylva economy is so dependent on the County's 
people and economy. 

Sylva cannot expect to grow if it loses its young people - 
productive young people with high school diplomas - and it is losinj 
them now. This outmigration of the young must be halted if Sylva 
expects to grow, 

Young people must be kept in school. The economic oppor- 
tunity program can help here, through various projects such as the 
work study program. 

Young people must be retained in Sylva after schooling. 
To do this, jobs must be available. 

A lack of employment opportunities, hidden unemployment, 
and underemployment are factors acting as a brake on the economy 
in Sylva and Jackson County. 

Nearly one-fourth of Jackson County's labor force works 
outside the County. This fact illustrates the lack of employment 
opportunities in the County- An expanding economy would permit 
many of these 1,107 workers to return to Sylva and Jackson County 
to work. 

Demand for unskilled workers is declining. Nationwide, 
demand for technical, professional, service and clerical workers 
is expanding. Requirements for educated, trained workers is in- 
creasing. There is a definite demand in Sylva & Jackson County 
for people of various skills. If the Sylva economy is to advance 
it must have these trained personnel -- and it must be able to 
support them . 

-38- 



The Technical Institute can provide this specialized train- 
ing. This Institute can be of tremendous assistance in the quest of 
Sylva and Jackson County for economic growth. 

Manufacturing is important in Sylva. More plants and more 
jobs will increase the demand for goods and services, and will thus 
boost the Sylva economy. 

The Western Carolina College can provide the community with 
persons educated to furnish the services that will be desired. 

S y 1 va needs 

Improved roads. 

More enterprises and more jobs. 

Central Business District improvement. 

More recreation facilities of all kinds if 
it is to realize its potential. 

Sylva does have many factors in its favor, such as its 
scenery, its recreation potential, its proximity to many other at- 
tractions, Mead, the Technical Institute, and the College, but the 
most encouraging thing is the attitude of the people. It is an 
attitude of progress. Sylva's leadership is aware of problems and 
is looking to eradicate them. Sylva's assets, coupled with a de- 
sire for growth, will surely bring more results. 



-39- 



STATE LIBRARY OF NORTH CAROLINA 
3 3091 00747 9058