Three Eastern Carolina counties start off the New Year with some tough economic news, but help may be on the way. Martin, Beaufort and Hyde Counties each dropped from tier two counties in 2004 to tier one counties beginning this year.
Designation as a tier one county shows these areas have the highest level of economic distress when compared to the rest of the state, according to the State Department of Commerce.
The county tier designations determine state funding to assist with economic development programs. Counties are placed in tiers one through five, with five being the highest depending upon its unemployment rate, population growth, and per capita income.