Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show there were 41,211 people living in Polk County in 2011, which is the most recent year available for recorded statistics.
Polk County had a 41,373 population figure for 2010, indicating there was a drop of less than one percent in population.
Per capita wages increased 4.1 percent during the same time period, according to federal statistics.
The analysis numbers indicate the per capita income for Polk County residents was $26,456 in 2011, compared to $25,404 in 2010.
Polk County’s per capita wage increase is higher than many neighboring counties. The highest was Catoosa County with a 4.5 percent increase and Walker County had a 4.2 percent increase in the per capita wage.
The numbers dating back to 2007 show a trend along the lines of the economy ups and downs during that period. Population figures show a 1.5 percent growth from 2007 to 2008 with a nearly four percent growth in the per capita wage.
The population numbers went down slightly in 2009, less than one percent, but the wage number took a hit with a 3.5 percent drop.
Those numbers indicate the per capita wage went from $26,066 in 2008 to $25,147 in 2009.
Population numbers for 2010 remained virtually the same as 2009 with the per capita wage going up one percent.
Eric McDonald, president of the Development Authority of Polk County, said the numbers are good news because it indicates the county hit the economic bottom in late 2010.
“One notable item was that it seems there was a shift of overall employment from large firms to small businesses or business start up,” McDonald said.
He said this could be good for long-term economic health because small businesses, typically defined as those with less than 50 employees, create at least 75 percent of total employment in Polk County.
McDonald said it also appears that non-wage contribution to total employee income went up significantly.
“This might be a leading indicator of the increasing cost of healthcare,” he said.
He noted that 2011 would be the first year for officials to use 2010 census data. Data used in between census years are estimates and could, over time, become inaccurate, McDonald said.
McDonald said the authority is putting a lot of effort into increasing both the number of jobs and the number of higher-paying jobs in the county.
“We are putting a lot of product online to try and increase the exposure of Polk County with site selection decision makers,” he said.
He said some of the existing sites in the county would get some increased 2013 exposure at the state level through various programs and initiations.
McDonald also said construction of a speculative building will begin in Cedartown the second quarter of 2013.
“This will act as a beacon to help increase prospect traffic,” he said.
McDonald said there are no guarantees, but he is looking for 2013 to be a good year for jobs in Polk County.
“I can’t say that a large employer will land in Polk County in 2013, but I will say we are working hard to make Polk attractive to new and existing businesses,” McDonald said.