The following is excerpted from Expansion Management magazine in an article entitled, 2007 TOP CITIES FOR BUSINESS ATTRACTION: These Communities Are Literally Magnets for Business. The entire article and sidebars can be accessed at:www.expansionmanagement.com/smo/newsviewer/default.asp?cmd=articledetail&articleid=18800&st=3.
Expansion Management and the National Policy Research Council looked at the facility relocation activity of 19 million companies over the past eight years to determine the most popular destinations for relocating businesses.
Governments at all levels throughout the United States invest an incredible amount of time and resources in trying to attract new private sector operations to their local jurisdictions. The reason they do so is simple: to bring more and better jobs to their constituents while, at the same time, creating a larger tax base that will help fund government services for the entire community.
The question we wanted to answer was, when businesses expanded or relocated a facility from one city to another, what were the most popular destinations. In other words, which cities were the most successful in expanding their local economy by attracting outside companies to locate there. The result is our first annual Top Cities for Business Attraction rankings.
To put this into perspective, it is important to note that there are 362 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) and 3,141 counties in the United States, so making this list puts these locations in pretty rarified atmosphere.
In the past, rankings of this sort have been based largely on an extremely limited, almost anecdotal, sampling of relocation data, and the results quite often proved the old adage, “garbage in, garbage out.” However, tracking the movement data of 19 million companies during the most recent eight-year period eliminates that long-standing criticism.
It has often been said that businesses, like voters, consumers or any other group of people making decisions that impact others, vote with their feet. There is a lot of value, not to mention wisdom, in knowing how other business executives acted when faced with a decision on where to locate a new facility. For the metros and counties that ranked high in this study, it represents the best of all possible validation that their local economies are on the right track.
Top 20 Small Metros for Recruitment & Attraction
1. St. Joseph, Mo.
2. State College, Pa.
3. Auburn-Opelika, Ala.
4. Sioux Falls, S.D.
5. Jackson, Tenn.
6. Lafayette, Ind.
7. Yuma, Ariz.
8. Charleston, W.Va.
9. Montgomery, Ala.
10. Dover, Del.
11. Gadsden, Ala.
12. Clarksville-Hopkinsville, Tenn.
13. Lynchburg, Va.
14. Parkersburg-Marietta, W.Va.-Ohio
15. Anniston, Ala.
16. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
17. Wheeling, W.Va.
18. Punta Gorda, Fla.
19. Hattiesburg, Miss.
20. Enid, Okla.
National Policy Research Council Proprietary Database, 2007