On December 7, Moody’s Investors Service notified County staff that it has removed the negative outlook from Mecklenburg County’s credit rating and returned it to stable.
The action is based on an expanded evaluation of individual credits and exposure to the US Government’s AAA sovereign rating. The expanded analysis included an evaluation of specific metrics including federal procurement activity, federal employment and healthcare employment. Also considered were Medicaid expenditures for states and public hospital expenditures for local governments, as indicators of direct exposure to federal spending. Moody’s also evaluated the levels of variable rate debt to measure exposure to capital markets.
County staff prepared a comprehensive response to Moody’s request for information and was able to demonstrate that the County’s economy, as well as the economies of the other jurisdictions in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), is diverse and does not have heavy concentrations of federal employment or procurement. In addition, the level of the County’s variable rate debt as a percent of available resources (cash & investments) was not considered excessive.
Overall, of the 161 local governments that were placed on negative outlook, 119 had their outlooks revert back to stable. This includes the other North Carolina jurisdictions.