Cleveland Area Continuing To Show Economic Strength

Sunday, June 8, 2014 - by David Davis

 The Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area continues showing economic strength compared to other MSAs of all sizes across the nation, particularly in Tennessee, according to two recent surveys.

 “Area Development” magazine ranked 379 MSAs across 21 economic and workforce indicators. The 21 indicators considered by “Area Development” came from seven sub-categories from four sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census American Community Survey and Moody’s Analytics. ranked 398 metros using Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly employment data. The rankings were derived from three-month rolling averages of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics state and area unadjusted employment data reported from November 2002 to January 2014.

 According to “Area Development,” Cleveland ranked 127th of 379 when compared to all cities of all sizes and 44th when measured against 240 other small MSAs. In the State of Tennessee, Cleveland, which includes Bradley and Polk counties, is second only to the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin statistical area, which finished 14th in the overall ranking.

 In the survey, the Cleveland MSA fell slightly from its 2013 ranking of No. 4 to No. 26 in 2014. Compared to other small Tennessee MSAs: Clarksville, Tenn.-KY ranked 81; Jackson, 116; Morristown, 159; Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA, 189; and Johnson City, 213. All MSA’s in Tennessee fell from the previous year except Morristown, which rose 53 spots from 212 in 2013.

 Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said it is important to note that Cleveland faired well in two surveys using different data sets and criteria.

 “I always enjoy seeing positive economic development news about our great city in a single survey, but good economic development shown in more than one survey is stronger validation that we are continuing in the right direction,” he said. 

 Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry said the the various rankings, in essence, provide the community a snapshot of how our economy compares to other cities, counties, and metro areas across the country.

 “We are proud of the fact it is performing in the upper 20 percent of all metro economies across the nation, especially when you consider the fact we are one of the smallest defined metro areas in the country.”

 The Chattanooga MSA ranked 230th overall; Knoxville, 154th; Jackson, 195th; Clarksville, 246th; Memphis, 294th; Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, Va., 295th; Johnson City, 306th; and Morristown, 352.

 The mayor said “Forbes” ranked Tennessee as the 15th best state to do business in 2014 and Area Development gave the state a No. 7 ranking in Q3 2013.

 “Cleveland is doing well in a state that is doing well and I am proud that we are setting the example for growing a diversified manufacturing economy,” Rowland said.

 The Cleveland MSA ranked eighth in the “Recession-Busting Cities Indicators” category, which considered the economic indicators ranking change from 2007 against the most recent data for that indicator, which provided some measure of which cities came back the furthest from where they originally were.

 “The ever-strengthening economy is a strong indicator that local public policy decisions and targeted investments at a state and local level to assist recovery from the recession and sustain the economy over time have bolstered business confidence in our area,” Berry said. “Most important is the fact that the vast majority of the jobs momentum comes from our existing industry base,” Berry said.

 However, the Cleveland MSA ranked 266th in the “Prime Workforce Indicators” category. According to the magazine’s explanation, most of the cities that ranked well had a strong university that provided the kind of technology-transfer capacity that attracts a talented labor pool, sparks entrepreneurial activity and provides an attractive destination for the types of startups and advanced manufacturing companies that propel metropolitan economies as the economy bounces back and takes shape.

 The local MSA ranked 94th in the “Economic Strength Indicators” and 263rd in the “Year-Over-Year Growth Indicators” categories.

 The “Year-Over-Year Growth Indicators” took into account only the economic indicators ranking change from 2012 against the most recent data for that indicator. Those included the local area unemployment rate one-year change rank from December 2012-December 2013; the average hourly earnings one-year rate change rank; the per capita real GMP one-year rate change rank; the manufacturing/goods-producing employment one-year net change as a percentage of population; and the employment growth net one-year change as percentage of population rank.

 Berry pointed out “the data also shows we need to increase our efforts to develop a highly skilled, technically competent workforce so we can improve income opportunities for citizens and diversify the economy, making it less susceptible to major fluctuations.”

 As for, the methodology for the 2014 rankings in its rankings included all of the metropolitan statistical areas for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports monthly employment data. They are derived from three-month rolling averages of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics "state and area" unadjusted employment data reported from November 2002 to January 2014.

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