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Leading Locations for 2013: The MSAs with Strongest Prime Work Force Growth

In most of the cities that rank well in our "Prime Work Force" indicators, you will find a an abundance of culture and a strong higher education presence providing the kind of technology-transfer capacity that attracts a talented labor pool, sparks entrepreneurial activity, and provides an attractive destination for the types of startups and advanced manufacturing companies that are propelling metropolitan economics.

Q2 / Spring 2013
Labor is a top consideration for any company that wants to move or expand its operations. Because labor is typically one of the highest operating costs, companies are also eager to select a location with a highly skilled, plentiful work force that can easily fill the often-specialized jobs the new facility requires, with minimal turnover.

Although plenty of Americans are looking for work, they often don’t have the right combination of skill sets for many open positions, leaving HR managers frustrated. These days, most jobs require some level of postsecondary education, as well as computer skills.

In order to fulfill business’ needs and also make themselves stand out from the crowd, more communities are partnering with regional and state government agencies to provide highly trained labor pools — designed to attract targeted, high-growth industries that will hopefully become good, long-term partners. By supporting specific industries, and developing the highly skilled workers these businesses require, cities increase their chances of keeping the employers they already have, as well as bringing in other companies that will create more jobs and build the tax base.

Kokomo, Indiana, is a good example — with its long history of automotive manufacturing, the state knows how important this industry is to its economy and works hard to support the automotive sector. Recently the Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced it would award Chrysler Group up to $11.5 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants to assist with a $374 million expansion of its operations in Kokomo, creating up to 1,250 new jobs by 2015.

Training Programs: Other states — such as South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas — have created highly-respected, innovative work force training programs that can sometimes “close the deal” when it’s time to make the final decision on a location.

In South Carolina, ReadySC™ provides comprehensive and customized training solutions for qualifying companies that are investing in the state. Louisiana Economic Development’s FastStart® program offers employee recruiting, screening, and training solutions for companies that meet its job-creation requirements. Training covers a wide range of subjects, including specific processes and procedures, advanced technologies, computer skills, and organizational management. In Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission’s Skills Development Fund provides grants to community and technical colleges to customize job-training programs for qualifying applicants. In Fiscal Year 2012, 50 grants totaling more than $22 million helped assist nearly 20,000 workers.

CoServ, a company that finds workers for the electrical industry, recently received a $162,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission that was used to train 143 people to work as electrical engineers, meter readers, power line installers, and support staff. “These resources were critical in helping us recruit and retain a sustainable talent pool of employees for this industry,” comments Dennis Engelke, director of Member and Employee Relations for CoServ.

Publishers Note: 2013 Leading Locations Rankings Correction
In the initially released 2013 Leading Locations report, a data entry error resulted in the misalignment of rankings for some MSA’s – these MSA’s had wrongly attributed rankings stated in each of the four indicators used within the "Young, Prime Work Force" and "Prime Work Force Inward Migration" sub-categories (see methodology for details.)
As a result of the corrections, the “Prime Workforce” category rankings and the overall rankings for all MSAs were minimally effected and have also been updated and restated.
Email for more information or any questions related to the above.

    • City
    • State
    • 2010
    • Overall
      Work Force
    • 1.
    • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
    • CA
    • 1,836,911
    • 4
    • 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.
    • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • DC-VA
    • 4,377,008
    • 7
    • 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.
    • 3.
    • Denver-Aurora-Broomfield
    • CO
    • 2,543,482
    • 15
    • 4.
    • Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick
    • MD
    • 1,205,162
    • 22
    • 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).
    • 5.
    • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos
    • TX
    • 1,716,289
    • 32
    • 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.
    • 6.
    • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
    • CA
    • 3,095,313
    • 37
    • 7.
    • Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville
    • SC
    • 664,607
    • 39
    • 8.
    • Tucson
    • AZ
    • 980,263
    • 47
    • 9.
    • Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway
    • AR
    • 699757
    • 50
    • 10.
    • Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (NECTA DIVISION)
    • MA
    • 2,863,943
    • 52
    • 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.
    • 11.
    • Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown
    • NY
    • 670,301
    • 54
    • 12.
    • Oklahoma City
    • OK
    • 1,252,987
    • 54
    • 13.
    • Albuquerque
    • NM
    • 887,077
    • 55
    • 14.
    • Tulsa
    • OK
    • 937,478
    • 71
    • 15.
    • NJ-PA
    • 2,147,727
    • 74
    • 16.
    • Dallas-Plano-Irving (Metropolitan Division)
    • TX
    • 4,235,751
    • 75
    • 17.
    • Toledo
    • OH
    • 651,429
    • 77
    • 18.
    • New York-White Plains-Wayne (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • NY-NJ
    • 11,576,251
    • 78
    • 19.
    • Philadelphia (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • PA
    • 4,008,994
    • 84
    • 20.
    • Columbia
    • SC
    • 767,598
    • 86
    • 21.
    • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • CA
    • 9,818,605
    • 89
    • 22.
    • Greenville-Mauldin-Easley
    • SC
    • 636,986
    • 92
    • 23.
    • Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale
    • AZ
    • 4,192,887
    • 94
    • 24.
    • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (METROPLITAN DIVISION)
    • FL
    • 1,748066
    • 95
    • 25.
    • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
    • MN-WI
    • 3,279,833
    • 96
    • 26.
    • Providence-Fall River-Warwick (NECTA)
    • RI-MA
    • 1,600,852
    • 104
    • 27.
    • Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville
    • CA
    • 2,149,127
    • 105
    • 28.
    • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • CA
    • 1,776,095
    • 106
    • 29.
    • New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner
    • LA
    • 1,167,764
    • 113
    • 30.
    • Oakland-Fremont-Hayward (METROPOLITAN DIVISION)
    • CA
    • 2,559,296
    • 116

Leading Locations for 2013 Results

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