Area Development
{{RELATEDLINKS}}The Leading Locations for 2012 report ranked 365 MSAs across a range of economic and workforce indicators.

To calculate overall ranking within the "Prime Work Force" category, we re-ranked the cities based only on 7 selected indicators from the 23 indicators used to arrive at the overall rankings. The selected indicators measure the youthfulness and educational level of a cities workforce, inward migration trends of educated workers, and trends in average wages.

We believe our Leading Locations report provides a good measure of those MSAs that found a way to bounce-back strongly from the depth of the economic downturn. And, we feel a solid indicator of a region's economic vitality - and an even better predictor of that region's future success - is its ability to attract inward migration of an educated workforce.

Wage and salary growth measures the quality of the jobs being created and sustained. According to Garner Economics, "changes in earnings can be an early indicator of developing opportunities or challenges" within a region.

Not surprisingly, in most of the cities that rank well in our "Prime Work Force" indicators, you will find a strong university, 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 will propel metropolitan economies as the economy continues to bounce back and take shape.