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Leading Locations for 2014: 6 Missouri metros ranked in top 50% for economic and job growth

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Six Missouri cities are ranked in the top 50 percent of Area Development’s 2014 Leading Locations study. The list includes: Columbia at No. 23; St. Joseph at No. 69; Kansas City at No. 148; Joplin at No. 151; Jefferson City at No. 164; and Springfield at No. 165.

Area Development analyzed economic and workforce data for 379 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with the goal of identifying which U.S. cities are emerging as front-runners ready to capitalize on the new potential for economic growth as the U.S. continues to emerge from the recession. The study found that a diversified economic base tops the list of most desirable traits.

“The top MSAs in the list demonstrate that a variety of strong individual drivers, or a combination of many factors, can move a city’s attractiveness as a business site into the foreground,” the study stated.

The study also found that current advantages are not enough for cities to sustain long-term success as a desired site-location. Cities must respond effectively to factors that affect local and regional economic performance, and invest in the future by creating healthy business climates.

“The locations that best create and sustain such multilevel support not only are best at landing new companies but also excel at supporting local companies and helping them hone their competitiveness with rivals at home and abroad,” the study stated.

Area Development is considered the leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation.

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