Atlanta: A Friendly and Enterprising Southern Hub

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With deep roots in traditional Southern culture, and the largest metro economy in the South, Atlanta is known for both its hospitality and its ingenuity.

It’s also a study in contradictions, as reflected in its history as the fictional home of Tara, the plantation in Gone with the Wind, and the real home of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

While Atlanta natives and tourists crave the fried chicken and corn muffins at its traditional Southern eateries, they also flock to the city’s nationally recognized chef-driven restaurants and ethnic restaurants along Buford Highway, where the area’s many immigrants serve everything from Vietnamese to Indian, Cuban, Korean, Mexican, Chinese and Ethiopian food.

Atlanta ranks fourth in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered within city boundaries, behind New York City, Houston, and Dallas. In fact, Forbes Magazine ranks Atlanta as the fifth best place for business and careers.

That’s in large part because Atlanta is the primary transportation hub of the Southeast. Delta Airlines runs the world’s largest airline hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Atlanta is also home to The Coca-Cola CompanyHome DepotUnited Parcel Service, and AT&T Mobility plus media moguls like Cox Communications, Turner Broadcasting System, CNN, and the Weather Channel.

A youthful city with a third of its population between ages 18 and 34, Atlanta has attracted hundreds of young, forward-looking entrepreneurs in the last several years. The list includes Kabbage, which offers small business financing, the Mowgli game company, and Monsier, an artificially intelligent robotic bartender.

Tech startups may look to the Buckhead Investment Partners Early Stage Fund for the financial means to scale up and to the Atlanta Ventures Accelerator and Atlanta Tech Village for mentoring, networking, coworking space, educational programs, and events.

Despite its size and assets, Atlanta’s cost of living is 1.7 percent below the national average and is similar to smaller size metro areas.

With continued growth in high-tech, professional services and manufacturing, Atlanta’s median household income has risen to $59,100, which is 10 percent higher than the national average, according to The PNC Financial Services Group.

Those high wage industries bode well for above average job and income growth. According to  PNC’s forecast, the unemployment rate will decline to a little less than 6 percent in the fourth quarter this year, from about 7.2 percent late for the same quarter last year.

If you’re considering Atlanta for your business, Halloo can help you get a local Atlanta phone number.

Caren Burmeister is a retired newspaper reporter turned freelance writer who enjoys yoga and caring for her two fat cats.

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