The Area Development rankings of Leading Locations are particularly strong in their thoroughness, and so can be valuable in making comparisons between locations. This is especially true during the early stages of a site selection process. It is important to note that rankings are not sufficient to complete a site selection decision — only detailed, local, primary information, understood in the context of your particular project, can lead to an optimal location decision. Factors that may lead to a high ranking and imply a healthy growing city may, in fact, only point to a sub-optimal place to locate depending on industry concentrations, wage pressures, lack of infrastructure capacity, low labor availability, quality-of-life issues, etc.
This brings up another valuable aspect of the Area Development rankings — the thorough selection of data sets provide a very broad perspective, and each data set can be evaluated on its own. So while the Bay Area of California may show up with three of the top five overall rankings, the rankings are much different when looking specifically at average wages and average wage growth. In addition, many site selection decisions tend to look within a particular region, and the Area Development rankings provide regional analysis for each of the data sets.
It is also important to note that despite these limitations, rankings often catch the eye of prospects. For those executing their own site selection process, this can result in the rankings having a high impact on their decision. For those using consultant services, the rankings are often noted by the client team and may require in-depth discussion of the methodologies used in order to determine project relevance.