Since 1996, Policom has created economic strength rankings for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S. Currently there are 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, defined as urban areas of at least 50,000 population.
Policom says it addresses the condition of an economy from the viewpoint of its impact upon the “standard of living” of the people who live and work in an area. The formulas used to determine economic strength measure how the economy has behaved, not what has caused it to perform.
The highest ranked areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time. The lowest ranked areas have been in volatile decline for an extended period of time.
Alabama has two cities, Huntsville and Birmingham, ranked nationally in the top 10 percent of all 366 metro areas. Huntsville is Alabama’s top ranked economy at number 16 nationally, up from 52 last year.
Birmingham is next and is ranked number 29 out of 366 markets, down one notch from last year’s rank.
Of Alabama four largest cities, Montgomery is third and ranks at 72 nationally which is up from the city’s ranking of 84 last year.
Mobile is the lowest ranked of Alabama’s largest cities at 193 which is actually an improvement over its ranking last year of 205 among all 366 metro economies.
Other metropolitan areas (above 50,000 in population) in Alabama and their national rankings are shown below:
City & National Ranking Among All 366 Markets
- Tuscaloosa 165
- Phenix City-Columbus 166
- Auburn-Opelika 270
- Dothan 291
- Florence-Muscle Shoals 297
- Anniston-Oxford 335
Interestingly, across the country the top five economies were Washington, DC, Des Moines, Seattle, Nashville and Austin, Texas.
The absolute worst were: Muncie, IN; Flint, MI; Danville, VA; Anderson, IN; and in place number 366, dead last, was Danville, IL.
Policom also rates smaller markets for economic strength. Referred to as micropolitan markets, they are defined as “an urbanized (city) area with a population of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000.” There are currently 576 micropolitan areas in the U.S.
Within Alabama, the highest ranked micropolitan area for economic strength is Enterprise-Ozark which weighs in at number 28 nationally out of the total of the 576 markets.
Not far behind is Daphne-Fairhope-Foley which is ranked at number 42 nationally. Other Alabama micropolitan markets and their national rankings are:
City & National Ranking Among All 576 Markets
- Troy 263
- Talladega-Sylacauga 310
- Cullman 407
- Albertville 438
- Ft. Payne 457
- Alexander City 461
- Scottsboro 485
- Eufaula 518
- Selma 522
- Tuskegee 555
- Valley 575
For a list of all American markets and details on the methodology used by Policom in this research, readers may visit www.Policom.com.
Clearly, the leaders in some of Alabama’s smaller markets have their work cut out for them.
What do you think? Do you agree with these rankings?
For a list from another organization of the best and worst states for business in 2012, please visit our recent article by clicking here.