Gadsden Ranked On New Forbes List

Gadsden ranked as one of the 2010 Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers by Forbes.

The City of Champions came in at No. 121 on the list that included the top 184 smaller metros.

“No city can be the ideal location for every type of company,” said Mike McCain, executive director of the Gadsden Etowah Industrial Development Authority. “But Gadsden is a great location for many types of companies, due to its geographic location, interstate access, comparatively low cost of doing business, outstanding educational and training opportunities, good labor force, the presence of relevant support services and infrastructure improvements made by local government, such as industrial parks and utility services.”

According to Forbes’ website,, the ranking of best places looks at the 200 largest and the 184 smallest metropolitan statistical areas for businesses and careers in the United States. Gadsden is spotlighted on the best smallest places’ list.

“We ranked areas on 12 metrics including costs (business and living), job growth (past and projected), income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth,” the article, “The Best Places for Businesses and Careers,” states. “We also factored in quality-of-life issues like crime, cultural and recreational opportunities, as well as net migration patters. Lastly, we examined the percentage of subprime mortgages handed out over a three-year stretch and the number of highly ranked four-year colleges in the area, per our annual college rankings.”

According to Forbes, Gadsden ranked 52nd for the projected job growth, 58th for income growth and 63rd for projected economic growth.

“In my opinion, those three factors are directly related to improvements made by government,” McCain said. “The improvements are things such as the development of new industrial sites and the addition of new workforce development incentives, such as the career transitional specialists at our high school.”

Gadsden placed 138th in educational attainment among the best smallest places.

“We rank a little bit below the average of the best that were listed in educational attainment,” McCain said. “That’s an indicator that, although we have great educational opportunities, not enough of our young people are taking full advantage of those opportunities. That again is an indicator that the money being spent on work force development and for those career transition specialists will pay dividends in the future because it has already resulted in an increase in enrollment in post secondary education.”

In the metric for the cost of doing business, the city ranked 81st in terms of the cost of labor, energy, taxes and office space.

“Local government has done everything in its power to reduce the cost of doing business, such as by providing tax incentives for new and expanding industries,” McCain said.

To see the full lists of Best Places for Businesses and


By Antrenise Cole

Times Staff Writer