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Leading Locations for 2018 Methodology

Q2 2018
Area Development ranked 394 MSAs across 21 economic and workforce indicators. These 21 indicators were pulled from seven (7) data sets (sub-categories) originating from three sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census American Community Survey and Moody’s Analytics.

Each MSA earned a ranking within each of the 21 indicators based on its statistical performance within that indicator. The MSA with the best performance in a certain indicator earned a ranking score of "1" and the MSA with the worst performance earned a ranking score of "394."

To calculate "Overall Ranking," we added the total ranking across all indicators for each MSA and then divided by the total number of indicators to reach an average ranking. The MSA with the lowest average earned the #1 overall ranking, while the MSA with the highest average ranked #394 overall.

We also calculated overall ranking across four categories: "Prime Workforce," "Economic Strength," "Five Year Growth" and “Year-Over-Year Growth.” To calculate the overall ranking within these four categories, we produced an average ranking across only certain indicators. An indicator did not have to be exclusive to our category rankings. For instance, the "Employment Growth Net 5-Year Change as Percentage of Population" is used within both the "Economic Strength" and "Five Year Growth" categories.

We have also produced a set of lists, using our overall results and category results, grouping the MSAs by region and size. We ranked the Top 5-20 MSAs in each region (defined by Area Development Online taxonomy), and we also ranked the top MSAs across three size groups: "Small" (population < 160,000), "Mid-sized" (population 160,000-600,000), and "Big" (population > 600,000). We ranked the cities within each size group against our overall rankings and "Prime Work Force," "Economic Strength," "Five-Year Growth" and “Year-Over-Year Growth” categories.

Sub-Categories and Indicators Used in the Leading Locations Report

Sub-Category: "Young, Prime Workforce"

    Indicators:
  • 2016 workforce 18-44 years with Bachelor's degree or higher as % of total workforce1
  • Workforce 18-44 years with Bachelor's degree or higher as % of total workforce1 3-year change rank (2016-2013)
Data Set Sources: GEOGRAPHICAL MOBILITY IN THE PAST YEAR BY EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT FOR CURRENT RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES 2013 and 2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates - U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey

EMPLOYMENT STATUS 2013 and 2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates - U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey


Sub-Category: "Prime Workforce Inward Migration"

    Indicators:
  • Total inward migration for 2016 with Bachelor's degree or higher as a % of total workforce rank1
  • Total inward migration Bachelor's degree or higher as a % of total workforce1 3-year change rank (2016-2013)
Data Set Sources: EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT 2013 and 2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates - U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey

EMPLOYMENT STATUS 2013 and 2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates - U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey

“Economically vital as well as physically or culturally appealing regions do best in attracting an educated workforce from outside regions.”



Sub-Category: "Local Area Unemployment Rate"

    Indicators:
  • December 2017 local area unemployment rate rank
  • Local area unemployment rate 1-year change rank (December 2017-December 2016)
  • Local area unemployment rate 3-year change rank (December 2017-December 2014)
  • Local area unemployment rate 5-year change rank (December 2017-December 2012)
Data Set Source: Local Area Unemployment Rate, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Sub-Category: "Wage and Salary Growth"

    Indicators:
  • Average hourly earnings 1-year rate change rank (December 2017-December 2016)
  • Average hourly earnings 3-year rate change rank (December 2017- December 2014)
  • Average hourly earnings 5-year rate change rank (December 2017-December 2012)
Data Set Source: State and Area Average Hourly Earnings (Private) 2011 to 2016, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Sub-Category: "Per Capita GMP"

    Indicators:
  • Per capita real GMP December 2015 rank3
  • Per capita real GMP 1-year rate change rank (December 2017-December 2016)3
  • Per capita real GMP 3-year rate change rank (December 2017 - December 2014)3
  • Per capita real GMP 5-year rate change rank (December 2017 - December 2012)3
Data Set Source: Gross metro product measures the final market value of all goods and services produced in a metro. This figure is the sum of earnings, property income, and taxes on production. GMP estimates come from Emsi via the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“A rise in per capita GMP signals growth in the economy and tends to translate as an increase in productivity.”



Sub-Category: "Manufacturing Job Growth"
    Indicators:
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 1-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017-December 2016) 2
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 3-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017 -December 2014)2
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 5-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017-December 2012)2
Data Set Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Goods Producing Employment Statistics - CES (non-seasonally adjusted)

“A measure of growth in the goods-producing sectors, primarily consisting of manufacturing and energy.”



Sub-Category: "Job Growth"
    Indicators:
  • Employment growth net 1-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017-December 2016) 2
  • Employment growth net 3-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 -December 2014)2
  • Employment growth net 5-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 -December 2012)2
Data Set Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Total Non-Farm Employment Statistics - CES (Non-seasonally adjusted)

Ranking Categories

Overall Ranking

Each MSA is ranked based on the average sum total ranking across all seven (7) data sets comprising 21 indicators.


Prime Workforce

    Indicators:
  • 2016 workforce 18-44 years with Bachelor's degree or higher as a percentage of total workforce1
  • Workforce 18-44 years with Bachelor's degree or higher as a percentage of total work force 3-year change rank1 (2016-2013)
  • Total inward migration 2016 with Bachelor's degree or higher as a percentage of total work force rank1
  • Total inward migration with Bachelor's degree or higher as a percentage of total work force 3-year change rank (2016-2013)
  • Average hourly earnings 1-year rate change rank (December 2017-December 2016)
  • Average hourly earnings 3-year rate change rank (December 2017 - December 2014)
  • Average hourly earnings 5-year rate change rank (December 2017 -December 2012)



Economic Strength
We looked at all economic indicator factors and excluded workforce indicators.
    Indicators:
  • Per capita real GMP December 2017 rank3
  • Per capita real GMP 1-year rate change rank (December 2017- December 2016)3
  • Per capita real GMP 3-year rate change rank (December 2017 - Dec 2014)3
  • Per capita real GMP 5-year rate change rank (December 2017 - December 2012)3
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 1-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017 - December 2016)2
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 3-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017 -December 2014)2
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 5-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017-December 2012)2
  • Employment growth net 1-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 - December 2016)2
  • Employment growth net 3-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 -December 2014)2
  • Employment growth net 5-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 -December 2012)2
  • December 2017 local area unemployment rate rank
  • Local area unemployment rate 1-year change rank (December 2017-December 2016)
  • Local area unemployment rate 3-year change rank (December 2017-December 2014)
  • Local area unemployment rate 5-year change rank (December 2017-December 2012)



Five-Year Growth
We looked at only the economic indicators ranking change from 2012 against the most recent data for that indicator. This provides some measure of which cities have come back the furthest from where during the beginning of the country’s economic recovery from the Great Recession.

    Indicators:
  • Employment growth net 5-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 -December 2012)2
  • Local area unemployment rate 5-year change rank (December 2017-December 2012)
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 5-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017-December 2012)2
  • Per capita real GMP 5-year rate change rank (December 2017 - December 2012)3
  • Average hourly earnings 5-year rate change rank (December 2017 -December 2012)



"Year-Over-Year Growth” Cities
We looked at only the economic indicators ranking change from 2016 against the most recent data for that indicator. This provides some measure of which cities have had the strongest short-term economic growth.

    Indicators:
  • Employment growth net 1-year change as percentage of population rank (December 2017 -December 2016)2
  • Local area unemployment rate 1-year change rank (December 2017-December 2016)
  • Manufacturing/goods-producing employment 1-year net change as % of population rank (December 2017-December 2016)2
  • Per capita real GMP 1-year rate change rank (December 2017 - December 2016)3
  • Average hourly earnings 1-year rate change rank (December 2017 -December 2016)
  • 1 Workforce total is provided for each year by the same 2013-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate used for educational attainment metrics.
  • 2 Job growth is measured against the population estimate of each metropolitan area based on U.S. Census statistics for that year.
  • 3 Per Capita GMP is measured against the population estimate of each metropolitan area based on U.S. Census statistics for that year.
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