Iowa City area ranked in top 25 for economic and job growth

BY JULIA SHRIVER | JUNE 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa City metropolitan area has again been recognized for its livability, ranking No. 22 in small cities and No. 105 overall in Area Development Magazine’s “Leading Locations for 2013” publication.

Surveying 380 metro areas, the magazine examined recent economic data during 2011-12 as well as data gathered during the Great Recession in determining which cities were the most successful in combating economic downturns.

Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census American Community Survey, and IHS was used in ranking each city in 21 different indicators and seven data sets.

Cities were also graded based on four main categories: Prime Work Force, Economic Strength, Recession-Busting Cities, and Year-Over-Year Growth.  

The Iowa City metropolitan statistical area, which includes Johnson and Washington Counties, scored highest in the “Recession-Busting” category at No. 62 overall, while ranking the worst in the “Prime Workforce” category at No. 267.  It ranked about equally in the “Economic Strength” and “Year-Over-Year Growth” categories at No. 86 and No. 89, respectively.

It climbed four spots this year over 2012.

Lafayette, La., took top honors among all metropolitan areas, with Fargo, N.D., and Odessa, Texas, following at No. 2 and 3.

Decatur, Ill., was ranked last.

Other cities in Iowa also scored well. Dubuque was ranked at No. 12 overall and No. 5 for small cities, and Ames was ranked at No. 38 overall and No. 12 for small cities. Cedar Rapids scored No. 66 overall and No. 3 in the “Prime Workforce” indicators.

The Des Moines-West Des Moines, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Quad Cities, Council Bluffs, and Sioux City metro areas were also featured on the list.

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