Seven Missouri cities recently ranked among the top places for business in reports from Forbes and Area Development magazines.
In Forbes’ 14th annual “Best Small Places for Business” report, Columbia ranked ninth overall, coming in third for education and in the top 20 percent for job growth and low business costs. The rankings are based on 12 metrics related to job growth, business/living costs, income growth, educational attainment and projected economic growth. Jefferson City (No. 59), Joplin (No. 62), Cape Girardeau (No. 74) and St. Joseph (No. 89) also made the list for low business costs, number of educated workers and the potential for job growth.
“The rankings show that Missouri cities, both large and small, are poised to support businesses and grow the state’s economy,” said Christopher Chung, CEO of the Missouri Partnership. “In addition to helping businesses thrive, these reports indicate that Missouri is not only a great place to work, but also a high-quality place to live.”
Among Area Development’s “100 Leading Locations for 2012,” Columbia ranked third among mid-sized cities and 10th overall, while Jefferson City came in at 16th among the top small cities and 39th overall. Kansas City was ranked 36th among the best big cities for business.
Area Development also ranked cities based on factors that contribute to workforce growth, “recession-busting,” and economic strength. The lists, based on city size, ranked Missouri favorably in all three categories. Specific rankings listed St. Louis in the number 16 spot for workforce growth, while Columbia ranked second for “recession busting,” fifth for economic strength and ninth for economic growth among mid-sized cities. Jefferson City was named fifth best for workforce growth among smaller cities.
According to the report from Area Development, Columbia’s employment numbers “were respectable throughout the recent recession and really took off in the past year as the city has maintained a jobless rate well below the state average for years.” Also touted in the report are Columbia’s higher education institutions and variety of industrial sectors that include life sciences, human and animal health, information technology and insurance.