Macon County is the seventh fastest-growing county in the state. Between 1990 and 1998, the people moving into the county accounted for over 21 percent of its population growth. Most came from the larger cites of the North and South. Such growth fuels service and retail sectors, which helps to offset the decline in the county's manufacturing jobs. While some residents fear the influx of people, the prohibition against building on the county's 152,000 acres of national forest helps to control population sprawl.