Consultants Forum    |   FacilityLocations    |   FastFacility    |   Advertise    |   Subscribe    |   Newsletter    |   RSSRSS
Inward Investment Guides

Leading Locations for 2013: Ranking MSAs for Economic & Job Growth

Area Development analyzes economic and work force data for 380 MSAs and a picture emerges of the cities across America that are coming out of the recession as economic front-runners. Recovery is always easiest with a diversified economic base, a trait that almost all of the top-ranked "Leading Locations" share.

Area Development Magazine Special Presentation (Q2 / Spring 2013)
Results Matter
...especially when it comes to spending huge amounts of time and money setting up a new business location. That's why it is important to locate the operation in a city or region that knows how to grow its economy and has the track record to prove it.

For this year's Leading Locations study, Area Development analyzed economic and work force data for 380 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) — both for 2011–2012 (recent performance) and 2007–2012 (duration of the Great Recession). The goal was to identify which cities across America are emerging from the recession as economic front-runners — and why.

Sometimes the reason for success is as simple as being in the right place at the right time (for example, being located in the middle of the oil shale boom). For most cities, though, sustained success depends on responding effectively to the many factors that impact economic performance, as well as proactively creating healthy business climates and investing in the future. This type of multilevel support helps local companies be more competitive with offshore locations, keeping profits and jobs at home.

Included in our report is an interactive table that will allow you to view the rankings of all 380 MSAs. The report includes an overall ranking which is based on 21 economic indicators and, we also create category rankings which are based on sub-groups of indicators from the 21 indicators used for the overall results (refer to the methodology to learn more.) You can use the filters to easily segment MSAs by region, population size and state or, you can use the search field to locate a specific MSA. In the expanded version of the chart you can see how each city ranks in every one of the 21 inidcators we use in the study.

Leading Locations for 2013 Results



    • City
    • State
    • 2010
      Population
    • Overall
      Rank
    • 1.
    • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
    • CA
    • 1,836,911
    • 2
    • San Jose, CAKnown as the heart of the Silicon Valley, the San Jose MSA has a rich tradition of high-tech entrepreneurship, innovation, and discovery. About $8 billion in venture capital funding is invested in the region every year, driving R&D and commercialization efforts, especially in the fields of nanotechnology, communications, and information and computer technology (ICT). Major players include Cisco Systems, Samsung, eBay, Google, and Yahoo.

      Top universities in the area — San Jose State University, University of California-Berkeley, and Stanford University — attract some of the best student talent in the country, turning out an impressive number of highly skilled scientists and engineers. As a result of this stellar work force, strong economic growth, and the creation of high-paying jobs, San Jose also placed first in the 2012 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index.

      Recent announcements include Samsung Semiconductor's expansion of its research and development campus and FICO's plans to relocate from Minneapolis to San Jose to be closer to Silicon Valley's engineering talent pool. "By operating from the Silicon Valley, we can more readily build upon our company's deep talent pool, collaborate with other big thinkers in the world's premier technology hub, and help our customers compete more effectively in the era of big data," says FICO's president and CEO William Lansing.
    • 2.
    • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos
    • TX
    • 1,716,289
    • 5
    • Austin, TXKey industries in the Austin MSA are advanced manufacturing, electronics, multimedia technology, clean energy and power technology, life science and biotechnology, and data centers. According to the Brookings Institution, Austin ranked first overall among the 100 largest U.S. metros based on amount recovered from pre-recession peak to the present, based on jobs, unemployment, gross product, and housing prices. Further, Austin placed second on the 2012 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index.

      Much of this economic growth is driven by improved performance in chip-making and systems design. Dell, IBM, Apple, and Samsung are among the largest technology employers. Backed by a $21 million investment through the Texas Enterprise Fund and an $8.6 million grant from the city of Austin, Apple will undertake a $304 million expansion of its facilities, eventually creating 3,600 well-paying jobs. Samsung's $4 billion expansion of its semiconductor manufacturing operations will increase its total investment in Austin to $13 billion since 1996. GM plans to build a 500-employee innovation center and eBay, another major Austin employer, will hire about 1,000 software engineers over the next 10 years.

      With this kind of growth in high-technology fields, it is no surprise that Austin has also recently been named by the Business Journals as one of the top three cities for young adults to establish careers in post-recessionary America.
    • 3.
    • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
    • TX
    • 5,946,800
    • 10
    • 4.
    • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (NECTA DIVISION)
    • MA
    • 2,863,943
    • 13
    • Boston, MAWith over $4 billion in new development projects totaling more than 10 million square feet under construction, Boston is booming. The Innovation District along the South Boston waterfront has attracted over 200 new companies and 4,000 new jobs across a variety of industries, including technology, life sciences, design, and advertising. Vertex Pharmaceuticals is currently building its $800 million, 1.1-million-square-foot global headquarters in the heart of the district.

      The Boston MSA enjoys an international reputation for healthcare and medicine. According to Jones Lang LaSalle, nearly 75,000 people in the Boston MSA are employed in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries — second only to San Diego. Boston's 22 hospitals and 34 colleges and universities are important anchors in the city's economy. The city is also the leading recipient for National Institute of Health funding in the U.S. — in fact, five of the top eight NIH-funded hospitals are within the Boston MSA.

      An outstanding educational system and high quality of life are just two reasons why Boston has such a diverse and youthful population — about one third of the city's population is between the ages of 20 and 35. Many of these energetic, young professionals work in the high-tech growth sectors of advanced manufacturing, clean energy, defense, IT, and life sciences/biomedicine.
    • 5.
    • Oklahoma City
    • OK
    • 1,252,987
    • 16
    • 6.
    • Dallas-Plano-Irving (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • TX
    • 4,235,751
    • 18
    • 7.
    • Denver-Aurora-Broomfield
    • CO
    • 2,543,482
    • 19
    • 8.
    • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • CA
    • 1,776,095
    • 21
    • 9.
    • Seattle-Bellevue-Everett (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • WA
    • 2,644,584
    • 24
    • 10.
    • Tulsa
    • OK
    • 937,478
    • 25
    • 11.
    • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • DC-VA MD-WV
    • 4,377,008
    • 27
    • Washington DC "DC" has one of the most diverse economies in the country. The federal government employs about one third of all workers in the city and provides contract work to hundreds of companies, especially in high-tech fields like aeronautics, defense, telecommunications, electronics, IT, and other services. Other important employment sectors are industry trade associations, financial groups, and scientific research through federal organizations, as well as top research universities and medical centers. Tourism, the second-largest industry in the city, is on the rebound — nearly19 million visitors pumped about $5 billion into the local economy last year.

      With all this activity, it is no surprise that economic development and commercial construction within the city are booming. According to the Washington, D.C., Economic Partnership's 12th annual DC Development Report, about 21.5 million square feet of commercial space is under construction, valued at about $9.5 billion. Residential construction is also hot, with over 10,000 units being built — the most since 2001.
    • 12.
    • Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville
    • SC
    • 664,607
    • 28
    • 13.
    • Fort Worth-Arlington (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • TX
    • 2,136,022
    • 29
    • 14.
    • Salt Lake City
    • UT
    • 1,124,197
    • 39
    • 15.
    • Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick
    • MD
    • 1,205,162
    • 45
    • Washington DCMajor industries in the Bethesda MSA include telecommunications, energy, technology, defense, aerospace, and healthcare. Both the National Naval Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health are located in Bethesda. Also headquartered here is Lockheed Martin, a global aerospace and security firm that conducts cutting-edge research and development and works closely with the federal government on major projects.

      Bethesda is top-ranked for its educated, highly skilled work force. For example, the city has one of the highest per capita concentrations of doctorate degrees in the country. It ranked second in education according to Forbes 2012 "Best Places for Business and Careers" report. In March 2013, the city's unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

      Located in Montgomery County, Maryland, Bethesda is one of the most important economic drivers in the Greater Washington area. In May 2013 Montgomery County reported its work force had increased by nearly 25,000 jobs since 2010, a 3.9 percent growth rate. About 20 percent of these new jobs were in professional, scientific, and technical services, making these sectors the county's top job gainers. Companies that added the most jobs in Bethesda include Capital One (300 jobs) and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (200 jobs).
    • 16.
    • San Antonio-New Braunfels
    • TX
    • 2,142,508
    • 48
    • 17.
    • Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin
    • TN
    • 1,589,934
    • 50
    • 18.
    • Cincinnati-Middletown
    • OH-KY-IN
    • 2,130,151
    • 51
    • 19.
    • Omaha-Council Bluffs
    • NE-IA
    • 865,350
    • 58
    • 20.
    • Boise City-Nampa
    • ID
    • 616,561
    • 60
    • 21.
    • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
    • MN-WI
    • 3,279,833
    • 62
    • 22.
    • Knoxville
    • TN
    • 698,030
    • 73
    • 23.
    • Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro
    • OR-WA
    • 2,226,009
    • 78
    • 24.
    • Akron
    • OH
    • 703,200
    • 79
    • 25.
    • Baton Rouge
    • LA
    • 802,484
    • 85
    • 26.
    • Louisville-Jefferson County
    • KY-IN
    • 1,283,566
    • 88
    • 27.
    • Columbia
    • SC
    • 767,598
    • 91
    • 28.
    • New York-White Plains-Wayne (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • NY-NJ
    • 11,576,251
    • 92
    • 29.
    • Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale
    • AZ
    • 4,192,887
    • 98
    • 30.
    • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
    • CA
    • 3,095,313
    • 102
    • 31.
    • Pittsburgh
    • PA
    • 2,356,285
    • 110
    • 32.
    • Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill
    • NC-SC
    • 1,758,038
    • 111
    • 33.
    • Honolulu
    • HI
    • 953,207
    • 113
    • 34.
    • St. Louis
    • MO-IL
    • 2,812,896
    • 115
    • 35.
    • Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • CA
    • 3,010,232
    • 117
    • 36.
    • Greenville-Mauldin-Easley
    • SC
    • 636,986
    • 121
    • 37.
    • Oakland-Fremont-Hayward (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • CA
    • 2,559,296
    • 122
    • 38.
    • Toledo
    • OH
    • 651,429
    • 123
    • 39.
    • Wichita
    • KS
    • 623,061
    • 137
    • 40.
    • New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner
    • LA
    • 1,167,764
    • 142
    • 41.
    • Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor
    • OH
    • 2,077,240
    • 143
    • 42.
    • Raleigh-Cary
    • NC
    • 1,130,490
    • 148
    • 43.
    • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
    • CA
    • 823,318
    • 151
    • 44.
    • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
    • FL
    • 2,134,411
    • 155
    • 45.
    • El Paso
    • TX
    • 800,647
    • 158
    • 46.
    • Wilmington (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • DE-MD-NJ
    • 705,670
    • 160
    • 47.
    • Tacoma (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • WA
    • 795,225
    • 164
    • 48.
    • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis
    • WI
    • 1,555,908
    • 166
    • 49.
    • Kansas City
    • MO-KS
    • 2,035,334
    • 167
    • 50.
    • Tucson
    • AZ
    • 980,263
    • 169
Leading Locations Sponsors: Location Profiles

Share