12 May Forbes Sr. Editor Kurt Bandenhausen on Forbes ranking of top cities for business
Madison’s #1 ranking applies to all of Dane County
Editor’s Note: Madison’s ranking of the number 1 city for business and careers extends to all of Dane County. In an interview with Forbes Sr. Editor, Kurt Badenhausen, he revels that the publication’s Best Places for Business and Careers ranking applies to the entire “ Madison Metro Area” and includes all of Dane County.
WTN: Can you tell us about some of the areas prospering in business and jobs and how do you determine the best places for business and careers?
KB: We turn to economic and research firm Economy.com. We looked at two costs indexes – a business cost index as well as a cost of living index. We also looked at three growth metrics – job growth, income growth as well as net migration. All of these things we looked at over the past five years. In addition we looked at the education of the labor supply. We looked at this in terms of the population that has a college degree as well as the number of PhDs in the area. Lastly, we looked at crime rates in the area as well as a new metric this year – leisure and culture index developed by Best Places guru Bert Sperling. This metric looks at museums, theatres, sports teams as well as golf courses as well as a host of other factors.
WTN :Can you tell us about the ranking for Madison and other top cities?
KB: The top ranked metro area this year is Madison, Wisconsin. A lot of Madison’s success can be attributed to the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It has one of the largest concentrations of college graduates in the country and has the largest concentration of PhDs in the country. It also has the lowest unemployment rate 2.7% last year of any of the 150 largest metro areas.
The second ranked metro area was Raleigh-Durham. It also has a very large university presence. The famed research triangle park in Raleigh-Durham is a tech hot bed home to 40,000 employees at more than 130 companies. It also has one of the lowest business costs in the country. They’re 11% below the national average.
One metro area that might surprise people is fourth ranked Washington DC. The District of Columbia itself only makes up 12% of the area in terms of population. Suburban northern Virginia and Maryland make up the bulk of the area. It is a very highly educated labor supply and also has one of the highest income growths in the country. In addition it also is one of the best areas in terms of culture and leisure for the Sperling index what took into account this year.