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Leading Metro Locations

Mid-Sized Urban Markets Compare Well with Mega-Cities

David J. Robinson, Principal, The Montrose Group, LLC (Q1 2019)

With their economic vitality and lower cost of doing business compared to their mega-city counterparts, growing mid-sized urban markets are succeeding in retaining and attracting high-wage jobs. More

Explaining the Emergence of Smaller and Western Metros

Joshua Wright, VP, Economic and Workforce Development, Emsi (Q2 2018)

With fast-growing populations and diverse economies, states in the West and Mountain region are showing significant economic growth, while smaller metros are benefitting from their larger urban neighbors’ spillover effect. More

2018 Leading Metro Locations: Pacific and Mountain Metros Dominate the List

Area Development Research Desk and Karen Thuermer, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2018)

The 2018 Leading Metro Locations reflect the nation’s overall economic growth as the country enjoys the second-longest economic expansion on record, with many small and mid-size metros exhibiting economic strength. More

Tech Firms Find New Opportunity in Emerging Hotspots

Steffen Kammerer, Senior Vice President, Technology Practice Group, JLL (Q3 2017)

“Hidden gems” like Sacramento and Albany are winning more industry interest thanks to affordable, talent-rich ecosystems. More

The Select Few Metros Where Wages Are Really Growing

Joshua Wright, VP, Economic and Workforce Development, Emsi (Q2 2017)

A recent analysis from Emsi suggests that the labor market might not be as tight as the data shows — or at least not tight enough for businesses in aggregate to significantly drive up wages. More

Leading Locations for 2017: West Coast "Tech" Cities Top List, Smaller MSA's Show Workforce Chops

Area Development Research Desk and Mark Crawford, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2017)

It’s not surprising to see larger MSAs at the top of the list due to their economic diversity and advantages of scale. But, mid-size and small cities built upon clusters that are in high demand, and where a prime workforce exists, can also be economic powerhouses. More

The Reasons Corporate Headquarters are Heading Back Downtown

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q3 2016)

In order to lure tech-savvy millennials, many companies that years ago moved out to the suburbs are heading back to the urban downtowns that offer the lifestyle this generation of employees desires. And the trend isn't confined to just North America’s biggest cities. More

Regional Talent Attraction Study Results: It’s Not All About Core Cities

Joshua Wright, VP, Economic and Workforce Development, Emsi (Q3 2016)

As many regions have become equally or more concerned with supporting existing companies than with recruiting new businesses, attracting and retaining talent has become a focal point. Which counties are standing out with high net migration and skilled job growth? More

Leading Locations for 2016 Commentary: Rankings Not Sufficient to Complete the Site Decision

Mark Sweeney, Senior Principal, McCallum Sweeney Consulting (Q2 2016)

Although the rankings of Leading Locations are valuable in making comparisons between locations, detailed, primary information — understood within the context of a specific project — is necessary to complete the site decision. More

Leading Locations for 2016: San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco Ranks First Among MSAs

Steve Kaelble, Staff Editor, Area Development and Area Development Research Desk (Q2 2016)

For the sixth year, Area Development has tackled the question with a multifaceted approach that crunches a wide variety of data to arrive at rankings in four vital factors — Prime Workforce, Economic Strength, Year-Over-Year Growth, and Five-Year Growth. More

Leading Locations for 2016 Commentary: Small and Mid-Size Cities Dominate

Gregory Burkart, Managing Director and City Leader, Site Selection & Incentives Advisory , Duff & Phelps, LLC (Q2 2016)

There are currently 13 small- to mid-sized cities in the top 20 for Economic Strength, while in 2015 there were only 8 in the top 20. That is a 62 percent increase. More

Leading Locations for 2016 Commentary: Diversity of Leading Cities Reflects Commercial Real Estate Demand

Jason Tolliver, Vice President and Head of Industrial Research, Americas, Cushman & Wakefield (Q2 2016)

The diversity, both in terms of size and geography, of the leading cities mirrors a booming industrial expansion that has been more broad-based than previous expansions. More

Leading Locations for 2016: A Closer Look at the Top MSAs

Steve Kaelble, Staff Editor, Area Development and Area Development Research Desk (Q2 2016)

San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco ranks first overall, followed in the remaining top-10 spots by Napa, Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Columbus (IN), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Bend-Richmond, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Reno, and Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine. More

West’s Economic Lead is Tested in 2016

Steven G. Cochrane, Managing Director, Moody's Analytics (Q2 2016)

The Southeast is now vying with the West for the top spot for employment growth. The West is still clearly the leader, but job growth along the South Atlantic coast and in the East South Central — from the Gulf up to Kentucky — has accelerated in recent months. More

Frontline: New Tech Havens Bloom as Digitization Transforms U.S. Economy

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2016)

The fluidity of digital innovation - and its lack of dependence on a traditional industrial infrastructure - means that tech havens are blooming in newer magnets where tech-savvy workers are prevalent, ranging from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Richmond, Virginia. More

Beyond Silicon Valley: Promising New Tech Boomtowns

Steffen Kammerer, Senior Vice President, Technology Practice Group, JLL (Q1 2016)

In its quest for lower costs, modern facilities, and access to talent, the booming tech sector is finding it can strike gold outside California. More

High – Speed Network Locations

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Directory 2016)

Cities across the nation are installing high-speed fiber-optic networks for their own institutional purposes, with the added benefit of attracting growing companies. More

Emerging Clusters Take Up the Technology Challenge

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q3 2015)

Rivaling the reigning tech hubs, city and state leaders are seizing opportunities to grow their cutting-edge electronic and digital sectors. More

Leading Locations for 2015: Creating a Track Record of Economic Success, Denver-Aurora-Broomfield Ranks First

Area Development Special Presentation (Q2 2015)

Area Development analyzed economic and workforce data for 373 MSAs to determine which U.S. cities are creating jobs and nurturing sustainable economic development. The results of the Leading Locations 2015 study clearly reflect the strength of the western half of the United States: eight of the top-10 MSAs are in the West — three in Colorado, two in California, two in Texas, and one in Washington State. More

Leading Locations for 2015: The MSAs with Strongest Prime Work Force Growth

Area Development Special Presentation (Q2 2015)

Most of the MSAs that scored well in the “Prime Work Force” category have a strong university or technical colleges in the area attracting students (many of whom stay after graduation) and the job creation and investment that comes with research commercialization programs. More

Leading Locations for 2015: The MSAs with Soundest Economic Strength Indicators

Area Development Special Presentation (Q2 2015)

Factors that indicate economic strength include per capita real GMP, manufacturing/goods-producing employment, and employment growth — for the most recent year as well as the last three- and five-year periods. More

Leading Locations for 2015: The “Recession Busting” and Year-Over-Year Growth Metros

Area Development Special Presentation (Q2 2015)

Maintaining strong economic growth — year after year — is the mark of strong economic development leadership. Cities that show year-over-year growth typically follow well-devised economic development plans and make the investments needed to retain and attract business. More

Leading Locations for 2015 Commentary: A “Video” of Change - Les J. Cranmer, senior managing director, Savills Studley

Les Cranmer, Senior Managing Director, Savills Studley (Q2 2015)

As some published industry lists and rankings provide a “snapshot” of year-end community accomplishments, this report can best be described as a “video” of change over the last three years. More

Leading Locations for 2015 Commentary: The Western U.S. Makes a Strong Showing - Larry Gigerich, managing director, Ginovus

Larry Gigerich, Managing Director , Ginovus (Q2 2015)

These rankings reflect the continued strength of the western half of the United States in terms of human capital and economic performance. More

Leading Locations for 2015 Commentary: Technology, Energy Dominate the Top Rankings: By Jim Eskew, Senior Vice President, JLL

Jim Eskew, Senior Vice President, JLL (Q2 2015)

Nine of the top 15 locations in the “Overall” ranking have dominant, thriving technology sectors, illustrating that the technology industry is not just in Silicon Valley these days. More

Leading Locations for 2014: The "Recession-Busting" MSA's

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2014)

A look at how three MSAs ranked in the top 15 of the “Recession-Busting” category in Area Development's 2014 Leading Metro Locations report are arising from the difficulties of the Great Recession and putting themselves on new growth arcs. More

Leading Locations for 2014: Economic Strength and Year-Over-Year Growth MSAs

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2014)

Nine of the top-10 cities in the Area Development 2014 “Economic Strength” ranking benefited greatly from boom times for oil and gas development and refining, or from their area’s historic and growing position at the forefront of a burgeoning area of the global economy. More

Leading Locations for 2014: The MSAs with Strongest Prime Work Force Growth

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2014)

A yawning gap has developed between millions of potentially available workers and the increasingly sophisticated skills they would require to qualify for today’s generally tech-oriented jobs. More

The Regional Impact of Quality of Life on Entrepreneurial Decisions

Dan White, Senior Economist, Moody's Analytics and Douglas Wynne, Associate Economist, Moody's Analytics (Q2 2014)

One of the most often cited reasons for the location of a new business is quality of life, yet it is one of the areas policymakers most often overlook. More

Leading Locations for 2014 Commentary: Why Should I Measure Regional Economic Performance Using Gross Metro Product (GMP)?

Alexander Miron, Economist, Moody's Analytics (Q2 2014)

Measuring economic perfor-mance can be a difficult task, and no single measure offers a complete picture. However, a comparison of gross metro product (GMP) is often the best starting point for judging regional performance. More

Leading Locations for 2014 Commentary: Much Depends on Company’s Industry & Life Cycle

Eric Stavriotis, Senior Vice President, Advisory & Transaction Services, CBRE, Inc. (Q2 2014)

A quick review of the 2014 Leading Locations research confirms what we have been seeing from our clients and the markets overall: Companies with a preponderance of technology workers are thirsty for more talent, and the needs of these companies can vary significantly based on their industry and life cycle. More

Leading Locations for 2014 Commentary: One Industry, or Many, Can Lead to Economic Success

Jim Eskew, Senior Vice President, JLL (Q2 2014)

As revealed in the overall “Leading Locations” rankings, there is more than one way to become an attractive location. Some locations have risen on the strength of a dominant industry sector. Others have prevailed by offering low-cost real estate, talent, and other resources in a balanced, diversified economy. More

Leading Locations for 2014: U.S. Metros Ranked for Economic and Job Growth

Dale D. Buss, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q2 2014)

Area Development analyzes economic and workforce data for 379 MSAs, producing a snapshot of the cities across America that are poised to capitalize on the new potential for economic growth as the United States leaves the recession behind. A diversified economic base tops the most desirable traits. More

Louisiana: Climbing the Economic and Business Climate Charts

Craig Guillot, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q4 / Fall 2013)

State sources report that Louisiana’s economy held strong during the recession, and that during the past five years, its GDP growth was about 50 percent faster than the national average. More

Leading Locations for 2013: The Plains States MSAs

Area Development Special Presentation (August 2013)

The Plains States of Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota point to their business-friendly environment while touting their economic success. The Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN, MSA ranks first among the region’s Leading Locations — and is also second among all mid-size cities. More

Leading Locations for 2013: The Midwest MSAs

Area Development Special Presentation (August 2013)

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Seventh District — which includes all of Iowa and most of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin — is 50 percent more concentrated in overall manufacturing than the nation. Food processing is a major industry as is automotive manufacturing (the region also produces 30 percent of the nation’s light vehicles) and specializes in construction and farm machinery, medical equipment, and steel products. More

Leading Locations for 2013: The Pacific Region MSAs

Area Development Special Presentation (August 2013)

With five of the top-10 MSAs in the Pacific region, the state of California is experiencing an economic comeback. The state has added jobs at the fastest year-over-year pace in more than a decade. More

Leading Locations for 2013: The New England MSAs

Area Development Special Presentation (July 2013)

The number-one Leading Location in the New England region is Framingham, Massachusetts, which has been recognized for its high quality of life and high-tech work force. Three other Massachusetts MSAs also place on the top-10 list for the region — Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Barnstable Town, and Peabody. More

Leading Locations for 2013: The Southern MSAs

Area Development Special Presentation (July 2013)

The South’s low-cost environment — from taxes to labor to transportation — has been a big draw from companies. And its right-to-work environment has helped to keep those labor costs down. In fact, five of the six states in the region — Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee — have right-to-work laws on the books. Only Kentucky does not. More

Leading Locations for 2013: The Mountain Region MSAs

Area Development Special Presentation (July 2013)

A mixture of modern and emerging sectors — including aerospace, biotech, information technology, and financial services — has driven the economies of the Mountain States’ (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming). More

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