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Leading Locations for 2012: Ranking MSAs for Economic & Job Growth

Area Development ranked 365 MSAs across 23 economic and workforce growth indicators. In the results we see that even amid the recessionary gloom, there were blooms of prosperity, and there are some places that have gotten back on their feet faster than others.

Area Development Magazine Special Presentation (Summer 2012)
(page 3 of 3)
Top 100 Leading Locations for 2012 (MSAs Ranked 51-100)
    • Rank
    • City/MSA
    • State
    • Population
    • 51.
    • Fort Wayne
    • IN
    • 416,257
    • 52.
    • Durham-Chapel Hill
    • NC
    • 504,357
    • 53.
    • Albany-Schenectady-Troy
    • NY
    • 870,716
    • 54
    • Corpus Christi
    • TX
    • 428,185
    • 55.
    • Burlington-South Burlington
    • VT
    • 211,261
    • 56.
    • St. Joseph
    • MO-KS
    • 127,329
    • 57.
    • Ogden-Clearfield
    • UT
    • 547,184
    • 57. t
    • Grand Rapids-Wyoming
    • MI
    • 774,160
    • 59.
    • Oshkosh-Neenah
    • WI
    • 166,994
    • 60.
    • Sioux Falls
    • SD
    • 228,261
    • 61.
    • Eau Claire
    • WI
    • 161,151
    • 62.
    • Corvallis
    • OR
    • 85,579
    • 63.
    • Des Moines-West Des Moines
    • IA
    • 569,633
    • 64.
    • Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford
    • VA
    • 162,958
    • Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VAThis MSA - located in Montgomery County, Va. - ranked 6th among Area Development's Top 20 South- Atlantic Cities. Specifically it ranked 5th for Employment Growth (net one-year change as percentage of population) and 48th for 2010 work force 18-44 with BA degree or higher (as percentage of total work force). The county is home to internationally renowned Virginia Tech.

      In confirmation of our rankings, in 2009, Forbes named the Blacksburg metro 31st on its list of the "Best Small Places for Business and Careers," and 14th on its list of "America's Most Educated Small Towns."

      Since 2000, relocating or expanding businesses have invested more than $265 million and created more than 4,600 jobs in Montgomery County, Va. In October 2011, outdoor retailer Backcountry.com announced plans to invest over $20 million to establish a fulfillment center in the county that will create more than 200 new jobs*, and in March of 2011, Modea, a designer of product-focused media, said it would place its headquarters in the county, creating 200 jobs, and in March of 2011, Modea, a designer of product-focused media, said it would place its headquarters in the county, creating 200 jobs.
    • 65.
    • Logan
    • UT-ID
    • 125,442
    • 66.
    • Rochester
    • MN
    • 186,011
    • 66. t
    • New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner
    • LA
    • 1,167,764
    • 68.
    • Chattanooga
    • TN-GA
    • 528,143
    • Chattanooga, TNPlacing 7th on the list of Area Development's Top 20 Southern Cities, Chattanooga ranked 22nd among the Top 25 Mid-Size Cities in "Recession-Busting" factors. And bust the recession it has, with new investments over the past five years from Amazon to Volkswagen. Last year, VW opened its billion-dollar plant there, and this spring the company announced the hiring of 800 more people. In all, VW and others such as Alstom, Sanofi-Aventis, and Amazon.com dropped about $3 billion into the Chattanooga economy during the recent recession.

      Journalists and analysts have also spotlighted the community's pluses. Outside Magazine named Chattanooga the "Best Town Ever" this year, and CNNMoney.com put it on the list of "8 Cities That Want Your Business." Forbes named Chattanooga as one of the top 10 cities where home values were expected to rise in 2011, and last year Where to Retire profiled Chattanooga as a "Top Retirement Town."
    • 69.
    • Greenville-Mauldin-Easley
    • SC
    • 636,986
    • 70.
    • Toledo
    • OH
    • 651,429
    • 71.
    • Boulder
    • CO
    • 294,567
    • 72.
    • Rapid City
    • SD
    • 126,382
    • 73.
    • Columbus
    • GA-AL
    • 294,865
    • 74.
    • College Station-Bryan
    • TX
    • 228,660
    • 75.
    • Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
    • AR-MO
    • 463,204
    • 76.
    • Kennewick-Pasco-Richland
    • WA
    • 253,340
    • Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WAThis part of Washington State placed 5th among the Top 25 Mid-Size Cities in "Prime Workforce Growth" and 10th among this same group of cities for its strong "Recession-Busting" indicators. The so-called "Tri-Cities" also placed 4th overall among Area Development's Top 10 Pacific Cities.

      On the surface, the Tri-Cities seem almost laid back, with stunning scenery, 300-plus days of sunshine a year, and most of Washington's highly regarded, $3 billion wine business. However, amid that science and technology thrive, led in terms of employee count by the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and DOE contractors such as CH2M Hill Hanford Group, Bechtel National, Mission Support Alliance, and Washington River Protection Solutions. ConAgra Foods, meanwhile, processes frozen potatoes in the area, and Tyson Foods has a meat-processing operation there.
    • 77.
    • Duluth
    • MN-WI
    • 279,771
    • 78.
    • Peoria
    • IL
    • 379,186
    • 79.
    • Lewiston
    • ID-WA
    • 60,888
    • 80.
    • Fairbanks
    • AK
    • 97,581
    • 81.
    • Barnstable Town
    • MA
    • 215,888
    • 82.
    • Raleigh-Cary
    • NC
    • 1,130,490
    • 83.
    • Cumberland
    • MD-WV
    • 103,299
    • 84.
    • Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton
    • PA-NJ
    • 821,173
    • 85.
    • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
    • MN-WISD
    • 3,317,308
    • 86.
    • Ocean City
    • NJ
    • 97,265
    • 87.
    • Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
    • FL
    • 180,822
    • 88.
    • Appleton
    • WI
    • 225,666
    • 89.
    • El Paso
    • TX
    • 800,647
    • 90.
    • Iowa City
    • IA
    • 152,586
    • 91.
    • Lafayette
    • IN
    • 201,789
    • 92.
    • Florence-Muscle Shoals
    • AL
    • 147,137
    • 93.
    • Tulsa
    • OK
    • 937,478
    • 93. t
    • Louisville/Jefferson County
    • KY-IN
    • 1,307,647
    • 95.
    • La Crosse
    • WI-MN
    • 133,665
    • 96.
    • Lansing-East Lansing
    • MI
    • 464,036
    • 97.
    • Winchester
    • VA-WV
    • 128,472
    • 98.
    • Bay City
    • MI
    • 107,771
    • 99.
    • Lawton
    • OK
    • 124,098
    • 100.
    • Hinesville-Fort Stewart
    • GA
    • 77,917


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