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Economic and Community Development

Comeback Cities

Ian Scott on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 12:00:00 am

I donít pay too much attention to the rankings and top-ten lists that litter the news these days. I think they are usually easy (lazy?) journalism, plus their methodology is often suspicious.

However, I did enjoy flipping through Kiplingerís 11 Comeback Cities for 2011.  Itís not a ranking, it is not a ten best or ten worst.  It is simply snapshots of several regions that are well positioned for economic growth; music to every chamberís ears.

  Not mind blowing growth, but pretty good considering job losses since 2008.  If you expect a list of growing US cities to be southeast heavy, youíre correct. Chattanooga, Nashville, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Charlotte, are the first five cities on the list.  There is also a big cluster of western cities: Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, OR, Seattle, and San Jose.  Flint, MI is the geographic outlier, and perhaps the most unexpected in this group. 

The absence of high growth cities from Texas, Oklahoma or other energy heavy states like Wyoming or North Dakota from this group is a little surprising.  Perhaps the Kiplinger folks felt those cities werenít right for a Ďcomebackí list because they didnít take as bad a hit in the first place.

Foreign investment is a common theme among this group of regional economies.  Whether its Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Siemens in Charlotte, Nissan in Nashville or European battery company ReVolt Technology in Portland, investment from abroad is aiding in recovery.  Predictability, health care, renewable energy and automotive are the other cluster themes that are mentioned as filling the jobs gap left by housingís collapse.

Another common regional asset that jumps out when scanning this group Ė strong chambers of commerce!

Check out Kiplingerís 11 Comeback Cities for 2011.

Posted by: Frank Kenny on May 6, 2011 at 10:19:03 am

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