1-27-2023 – Winter 2022 Economic Indicators Newsletter Highlights Hickory Metro Region Traffic Count Trends.

Posted on: January 27th, 2023 by admin No Comments


January 27 2023



January 26, 2023 –The latest issue of the Economic Indicators Newsletter (EIN) was released today by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments. In print since 1998, this quarterly publication focuses on economic trends and issues impacting the Hickory Metro Region. The issue addresses Hickory Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) unemployment rates, Hickory Metro State gross collections, and Hickory MSA traffic counts.



Here are a few key highlights of the EIN:


  • The Hickory MSA’s unemployment rate equaled 4.0% in October 2021. Over the past year, the Hickory MSA’s unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8% as of October 2022.
  • Between October 2021 and October 2022, the estimated number of employed persons increased from 162,861 to 165,889 (3,028), while the civilian labor force grew from 169,389 to 172,412 (3,023).
  • Hickory Average annual Hickory MSA wages increased from $39,624 in 2017 to $47,320 in 2021.
  • Data from the North Carolina Department of Transportation reveals that the highest 2021 traffic count in the Hickory Metro region of 67,500 vehicles per day occurred along I-40 between L-R Blvd (Exit 125) and MacDonald Parkway (Exit 126)
  • The largest traffic volume increase in the Hickory-Newton-Conover area between 2011 and 2021 (8,000 vehicles per day) was along US 321 north of NC 127 and L-R Blvd south of E Ave SE near Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • The highest Alexander County traffic count in 2021 (15,500) was at NC 16 just south of US 64 in Taylorsville.
  • Between 2011 and 2021, Average Daily Traffic (ADT) increases of more than 2,000 vehicles per day occurred along NC 16 north of US 64, just north of Fairground Rd and north of Hines Farm Rd, and at US 64 east of NC 16.
  • Twelve traffic count locations in Caldwell County had ADTs of 30,000 or more in 2021. These counts occurred on US 321 between Hospital Ave in Lenoir to the Catawba River Bridge.
  • Traffic counts were much higher in 2021 than in 2011 at several locations along US 321 (Blowing Rock Blvd) and US 64/NC 18 (Morganton Blvd) in Lenoir.
  • Burke County/Morganton area traffic counted more than 35,000 vehicles per day in 2021, all found along I-40.
  • The largest traffic count increases (4,500 to 8,500) in the Morganton Area over the past ten years occurred at US 64-70 (Fleming Dr) west of US 64 (Burkemont Ave) and NC 181 (N Green St) north of NC 126. Over the past two years, the largest increase (4,000 vehicles per day) was at NC 181 (N Green St) north of NC 126.




The EIN is produced quarterly and is a Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board publication. To subscribe to the EIN, please contact Taylor Dellinger, Data Analyst, at 828-485-4233 or by email taylor.dellinger@wpcog.org.



Western Piedmont Council of Governments

1880 Second Ave NW

Hickory, NC 28601


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