The reports all generally praise the diversity of the local economy, and financial management within the county.
But they also make clear analysts are paying attention to changes locally. For example, both Moody's and Fitch note the local unemployment rate exceeds that of the nation.
Among the comments:
- From Standard & Poor's: "The county continues to experience long-term sustainable growth of both its tax base and employment base which has provided strong operating results and subsequent reserve build-up, positioning the county with financial flexibility during economic slowdowns"
- From Fitch: Local financial sector will "sustain continued economic growth" even with the Wachovia acquisition and “other potential industry changes."
- From Moody's: "The full impact of the downturn in financial services has yet to be felt, and we will continue to monitor the implications for the city." Later: The county's growing and vibrant economy has historically been asignificant factor in the Aaa rating (but) protracted unemployment at the current level and a longer than average recession could challenge the county's credit profile." (Earlier this year, the agency assigned a negative outlook on all tax-backed U.S. local governments)
The county is preparing to borrow up to $100 million in bonds next month, and is restructuring some of its other debt. - April Bethea