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Leading Metro Locations

2023's Leading Metro Locations: Hotspots of Economic Growth

Area Development Research Desk and Steve Kaelble, Staff Editor, Area Development (Q4 2023)

The leading metro areas are those poised for long-term growth and are often hubs of high-tech industry, where workers may benefit from an affordable cost of living. More

2023's Leading Metro Locations Methodology

Area Development Research Desk (Q4 2023)


Commentary: The 2023 Top Metros Show a Stark Shift in Regional Preferences

Chris Chmura, Ph.D. , CEO & Founder, Chmura Economics & Analytics (Q4 2023)

As employees continue to work remotely post-pandemic, small regions with lower living costs moved up in the rankings. More

Commentary: Metros With Solid Prime Workforces Garner Significant Investment

Chris Volney, Managing Director, Americas Consulting, CBRE (Q4 2023)

Small and medium-sized metros with a pipeline of educated workers at a competitive cost are attracting companies looking for long-term growth. More

Commentary: Top Metros Provide Educated Workforces and High Quality of Place

Matt Niehoff, Senior Consulting Analyst, Location & Labor Analytics, Cushman & Wakefield (Q4 2023)

This scorecard clearly shows that the landscape of workforce trends across the United States is intricate, diverse, and highly localized. More

The Rise of Mid-Size U.S. Cities: The Industrial Development Boom

Emelie Hegarty, Business Strategy Manager, Quest Site Solutions (Q3 2023)

As company needs have evolved, many are gravitating to smaller urban areas that often provide them with a lower tax burden, affordable real estate, and development-ready sites. More

Global Innovation Hubs: Markets Driving the Future of Business

David Hickey, Managing Director, Hickey & Associates (Q4 2020)

Area Development interviewed David Hickey, Managing Director, Hickey & Associates, at our Houston Consultants Forum. Our discussion covered the factors that go into the making of a global innovation hub. More

Mid-size Markets Competing for Business and Winning

David Hickey, Managing Director, Hickey & Associates (Q1 2020)

Workforce availability with the necessary skills and local partnerships are two trends driving investment to mid-size markets. More

Investment Follows Talent to Mid-Size Markets

Drew Repp, Content Manager, Emsi (Q1 2020)

The affordability of mid-sized communities has made them attractive to tech-savvy workers who, in turn, are drawing business investment to those locales. More

Revitalized Cities: Which Locations Have Outperformed and Why?

Matthew Mowell, Senior Economist, Oxford Economics (Q1 2020)

Many locations that saw economic contractions have been able to revitalize themselves by instituting pro-business policies, developing innovative workforces, and drawing the right industry mix — sprinkled with a little bit of luck! More

South and South Atlantic Metros Emerge as Leading Locations

Drew Repp, Content Manager, Emsi (Q4 2019)

A focus on workforce has placed metros in the South and South Atlantic regions among this year’s leading locations, although past metro leaders still make an appearance. More

In the Search for STEM Skills, Look to the Data

Calandra Cruickshank , Founder and CEO , StateBook International® (Q4 2019)

Companies can use available data to find the locations that best fit their needs, especially the requirement for a workforce with STEM skills. More

A Tale of Demographics

Dan White, Director, Government Consulting and Fiscal Policy Research, Moody's Analytics (Q4 2019)

Growth has been concentrated in the Southern and Western regions of the U.S., although rising costs are becoming a concern. More

2019 Leading Metro Locations: Pacific and South-Atlantic Metros Dominate the List

Area Development Research Desk and Lisa A. Bastian (Q4 2019)

Metro areas that are hotbeds of technology lead the pack, joined by others showing manufacturing prowess, which has a large economic ripple effect. More

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

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 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

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: 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

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

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

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

Jason Tolliver, Managing Director, Investor Services, 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 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: 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

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  (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, Executive 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

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