Northwest Georgia counties slip in economic rankings

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs has released its rankings for economic development, and the news is not good for most Northwest Georgia counties.

Murray County tumbled 41 spots in the rankings from 2010 to 2011, Whitfield slipped 27 spots and Gordon County slid 26.

The department ranks the counties based on economic factors to determine tax credits. The lowest 71 counties -- which include Chattooga and Murray counties -- make up Tier 1, where businesses are eligible for the biggest tax credits if they create jobs.

Tier 4 counties -- most of which are near Atlanta, Savannah, Macon and Augusta -- are the leading economic counties in the state.

Gordon, Whitfield, Gilmer, Fannin and Walker counties all fell into Tier 2 on the 2011 report. Dade, Bartow, Floyd and Catoosa counties fell into Tier 3, but no Northwest Georgia counties cracked the top tier of the state's wealthiest 18 counties.