DECATUR- It's a terrible distinction for the city of Decatur. According to "24-7 Wall Street.com," the Decatur Area is the second fastest shrinking economy in the entire country. Decatur falls second place to Shreveport, Louisiana. That is based on data from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which says the area's "Gross Metro Product" fell by nearly five percent last year. The unemployment rate rose by a nation-leading four point two percent last year, to twelve point seven percent. That is the seventh highest unemployment rate in the country.
WAND spoke with Jim Minton of Investment Planners, Inc., in Decatur, and says that the Decatur Area needs to find its niche in order to bring the economy back up. Some of the positives, Minton mentions, are the cheap costs of living and the close location to major cities, like St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis. These disheartening numbers come at no surprise to Minton, as Decatur has relied on large companies, such as ADM and Caterpillar, that have experienced many layoffs.
If this data does not surprise you, either, these facts might. Minton wrote a newspaper article in 2010 that explains Decatur used to be known for a lot of things around the world! Decatur used to be known as the softball capital of the world. The first women's Olympic softball team had strong ties to Decatur. Minton says that New Zealand kids used to grow up dreaming of playing in Decatur. Decatur was the talk around the world when it came to softball. Decatur used to be described as, "a medium-sized rust-belt city that has seen better days since industry went overseas." A city that people around the world once dreamed of, is now greatly suffering under its own economy.
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