By Business Facilities Staff
From the July/August 2023 Issue
19th Annual Rankings:
2023 Metro Rankings Report
In Business Facilities’ 19th Annual Rankings Report, metro areas and cities of all sizes are recognized for attracting and retaining businesses from numerous industry sectors. From Best Business Climate to Fastest Growing Cities and from Tech Talent Leaders to Food Processing, the 2023 Metro Rankings showcase the variety of location choices for site selection projects across all types of business.
Cities are the economic engines behind the growth of many states and larger regions. As part of the Annual Rankings Report, Business Facilities recognizes the activity and accomplishments occurring at the local level with the Metro Rankings each year.
Corporate Headquarters: Choosing A Home Base
Whether choosing to relocate or expanding at a current location, the decision on where to site a corporate headquarters is central to business operations. The Corporate Headquarters ranking takes into account the number of headquarters that are located in a city or metro area, and it also looks at what type of resources a location offers to the central operations of a business.
From access to assistance and cost of business to quality of life, this decision is a crucial one for companies. The 10 locations ranked here this year represent a wide swath across the U.S, and each has their own advantages and appeal.
Taking the top spot in the latest ranking is the NYC Metro area (New York City/Jersey City, NJ/White Plains, NY). The NYC Metro area occupied the top spot in 2022 and retained that position for 2023 primarily due to having highest number of corporate headquarters of all U.S. cities. Also, the resources available to companies in the NYC metro are world-class. The top five also include: Houston/The Woodlands/Sugar Land, TX; Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Alpharetta, GA; Chicago/Naperville/Evanston, IL; and Dallas/Irving/Plano, TX.
As part of the top five, Irving, TX alone is home to 10 Fortune 500 and three Fortune 1000 companies. One of those is Caterpillar, which moved its headquarters to Irving in 2022.
Said Beth Bowman, IOM, CCE, President & CEO of the Irving Economic Development Partnership, “We have earned the reputation as the ‘Headquarters of Headquarters’ through a commitment to a business-friendly tax and regulatory climate and a community that offers a high-quality lifestyle for workers, with good schools and desirable amenities, as well as our multiple transportation and housing options. This is how we have attracted some of the world’s best companies and we look forward to what the future brings.”
Rounding out the Corporate Headquarters category are: Boston, MA; San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara CA; Washington DC/Arlington, VA/Alexandria, VA; Richmond, VA; and Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, MN.
Best Business Climate
A desirable business climate may vary for businesses by industry, size, or a distinct requirement, but commonalities such as cost of doing business and access to resources are standard to virtually all companies. The Best Business Climate rankings found here look at large, mid-sized, and small cities.
The Milken Institute, a nonprofit, non partisan think tank, published its 2023 Best-Performing Cities (BPC) Index, which includes a number of business climate factors in its analysis. Based mainly on data from 2021, this report is tool to help in evaluating locations.
In the 2023 Index, the best performing large city for the third year is Provo/Orem, UT, due in large part to a strong five-year job and wage growth and growing high-tech sector.
The Index identified Idaho Falls, ID as the leading best performing small city, also fostered by strong job and wage growth over the past five years and a high-tech presence.
Based on this Milken Institute report, combined with other resources, Business Facilities chose Provo/Orem, UT as the best large city to do business, and Idaho Falls, ID as its small city counterpart.
Meanwhile, Arlington, VA tops the mid-sized city best business climate ranking due to its breadth of resources, both inherent and created. A tech-centric environment that can cater to large firms (such as for Amazon HQ2), coupled with attention to smaller business success placed this city in this ranking.
The Industrial Parks ranking takes into account park size, location to markets, growth potential, and recent expansions, as well as distinctive assets like water resources, on-site utilities, residential developments, and other amenities. As decision-makers seek leading logistics, flexible space, and amenities there are a growing number of properties with a variety of choices for companies.
Elk Grove Village Business Park located in Elk Grove Village, IL is chosen as the leaders in Industrial Parks in the Business Facilities rankings. The largest industrial park in the United States with over 5,600 businesses, 22 data centers, and more than 400 manufacturers, it is located around a transportation hub—adjacent to O’Hare International Airport; at the crossroads of transcontinental freight rail service; and accessible to interstate highways. The site has expanded its offerings to now include the Elk Grove Technology Park, which was established in 2018 within Elk Grove Village Business Park to accommodate tech-focused companies.
In Baytown, TX, the TGS Cedar Port Industrial Park (TGSCP) has been ranked second. As the largest master-planned rail-and-barge-served industrial park in the U.S., the park spans 15,000 acres with 12 million square feet of warehouse space. The logistics available at the site continues to attract tenants. There have been two 1.2 million-square-foot spec buildings constructed within the past 24 months, with the first building no longer available to the market.
Rounding out the top three Industrial Parks in the rankings is TexAmericas Center in Bowie County, TX. Located along the Interstate 30 corridor, just 15 miles west of Texarkana, the 12,000-acre mixed-use industrial park services the Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas markets. Texarkana’s central location and interconnection of rail, road, air, river, and IT transportation assets enables TexAmericas Center to leverage its ability to deliver high-quality, value-added logistics services at a low cost against this comprehensive transportation network.
The other top ranked industrial parks are: MidAmerica Industrial Park (Pryor, OK); Camp Hall Industrial Commerce Park (Charleston, SC); Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (Reno-Sparks, NV); Quonset Business Park (North Kingston, RI); Great Southwest Industrial Park (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX); CenterPoint Intermodal Center (Joliet/Elwood, IL); and Tomball Business & Technology Park (Tomball, TX).
For places to move goods, Memphis, TN shows a repeat performance as the top ranked metro in the magazine’s Logistics Leaders ranking. This ranking considers all forms of transportation logistics, including shipping by air, rail, water, and highway.
Memphis International Airport, home to the global FedEx hub, is the busiest cargo airport in the U.S. for 2022, handling four million metric tons of cargo, according to the Airports Council International’s annual tally. Memphis is one of only four U.S. cities to be served by five Class I railroads, and it is home to the fifth largest inland port in the U.S.
New Orleans, a perennial leader in Business Facilities’ Logistics Leaders rankings for several years, takes the second place spot, followed by Louisville, KY to round out the top three. In terms of air cargo, the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport was the third busiest in the U.S. in 2022.
The Logistics Leaders ranking also includes: Chicago, IL; Moreno Valley, CA; Hampton Roads, VA; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Nashville, TN; and Columbus, OH.
Ports Performance Factors
Operational conditions at global ports have improved significantly following the unprecedented levels of disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the third edition of the global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI). Globally, ports are continuing to clear backlogs, but additional scope for efficiency gains remain. Further digitalization of port processes and modernization of port infrastructure would improve productivity, customer service and emissions reductions, the data suggests.
Developed by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence, the third edition of the CPPI is a data-based comparable index that ranks 348 global container ports according to their efficiency, which is measured by the elapsed time between when a ship reaches a port to its departure from the berth having completed its cargo exchange. The CPPI ranking is intended to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement for the benefit of the key stakeholders in global trade, including government, shipping lines, port and terminal operators, shippers, logistics companies, business, and consumers.
This report ranked Port of Wilmington, NC and Port of Virginia, VA as the top two performing ports in the U.S. Following those are: Port of Boston, MA; Port of Jacksonville, FL; Port Everglades, FL; Port of Philadelphia, PA; Port of New Orleans, LA: Port Tampa Bay, FL; Port of Miami, FL; and Port of Mobile, AL.
To rank Top Container Ports (by TEUs), the “2023 Port Performance Freight Statistics Program: Annual Report to Congress,” was referenced. This report shares insight and data on capacity and throughput at the top U.S. maritime ports, available from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) as part of its Port Performance Freight Statistics Program.
Reporting by the BTS Port Performance Freight Statistics Program presents nationally consistent capacity and throughput measures for the top 25 ports by tonnage, 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU), or dry bulk tonnage. Additionally, it reports on recent supply chain challenges and record low water impacting ports on the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers.
Waterborne vessels handled over $1.5 trillion in U.S.-international freight in 2020, more than 40% of total U.S.-international freight value. Also in 2020, waterborne vessels carried nearly 1.5 billion tons of U.S.-international freight, 70% of total trade weight.
In addition to the Annual Report, BTS maintains a set of interactive online Port Profiles of the top 50 U.S. ports featuring a wide range of port measures, such as vessel calls by type, vessel dwell times, top commodities, and updates specific to each port. Also, BTS maintains a monthly container port activity dashboard and publishes periodic port-related data spotlights.
Based on the TEU data provided in the BTS report, the Top Container Ports (by TEUs) were: Los Angeles, CA; Long Beach, CA; Port of NY and NJ; Savannah, GA; and Houston, TX.
Fastest Growing Cities
In May 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau released data on population changes from July 2021-July 2022 across the nation. Georgetown, TX topped the Fastest Growing Cities by percent change in 2022, with the highest rate of growth among U.S. cities and towns with at least 50,000 people.
Following the population increase of 14.4% in Georgetown, TX, was Santa Cruz, CA, with a 12.5% increase, adding roughly 7,000 people to its population. The next three fastest-growing cities were in Texas—Kyle, Leander, and Little Elm.
For this Census data, Texas was the only state that had more than three cities on both the 15 fastest-growing large cities and towns by numeric change and by percent change lists. Fort Worth, TX, had the largest numeric population gain in 2022, with an increase of 19,170 people. Phoenix, AZ (19,053); San Antonio, TX (18,889); Seattle, WA (17,749); and Charlotte, NC (15,217), rounded out the top five cities by numeric growth.
Across the three Business Facilities metro rankings that are focused on population, locations in AZ, FL, and TX appear in the majority of slots.
Meanwhile, based on Census data, the Fastest Growing Counties ranking is led by Maricopa County, AZ. This is followed by Clark County, NV; Harris County, TX; Denton County, TX; Riverside County, CA; Collin County, TX; Lee County, FL; Pasco County, FL; Polk County, FL; and Pinal County, AZ.
Meanwhile, The Villages, FL metro area was the fastest-growing U.S. metro area between 2021 and 2022, increasing by 7.5%.
Tech Talent Leaders
Even as some tech firms were reducing headcount earlier this year, the search for tech talent doesn’t slow. First, not all tech-centric companies are downsizing, but also with technology permeating so many industries, the job openings are wide open.
To view the wider lens, the Business Facilities Tech Talent Leaders ranking is split into three lists, by size of tech labor pool. Based in part on data from CBRE, the rankings look at cities’ tech human resources by labor pool over 125K; labor pool 50K-125K; and labor pool under 50K. This provides a clearer look at what talent may be available, based on also what size city a company may be considering.
CBRE’s annual 2022 Scoring Tech Talent report ranks the top 75 tech markets in the U.S. and Canada and outlines the industry’s job-growth trends amid economic shifts and increased remote hiring. Overall, the U.S. added a net 136,000 tech talent jobs in 2021 across established hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Seattle. Leading Canada’s tech talent growth are Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, among others.
The CBRE report found that growth within tech talent professions and industries was widespread in 2021. The industries that added the largest total (gross) of tech talent were the tech sector (110,300 jobs), life sciences (37,800), and the financial services, insurance and real estate category (18,900). The tech talent professions that added the most jobs overall were software developers (159,500) and tech managers (27,900).
The Business Facilities rankings this year for Tech Talent (labor pool over 125K) are led by: San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; and Toronto, ON. When looking at labor pool of 50K-125K, the top cities are: Austin, TX; Vancouver, BC; and Denver, CO. For labor pool of under 50K, leading locations are: Waterloo Region, ON; Pittsburgh, PA; and Calgary, AL.
From coast to coast, fintech industry players are looking for locations that will provide the infrastructure, workforce, and business climate to support their success. In this year’s Fintech Leaders rankings, highlighted are cities with the workforce, regulatory environment, and overall ecosystem geared for this burgeoning area of the finance world, which includes insurtech, e-commerce, and more.
Leading for overall Fintech Leader markets is New York City, ranked number one again this year. The sheer size of New York City’s financial and technology infrastructure positions the metro as a fintech leader. The rankings looked at the number of fintech startups in cities along with available talent.
Following the Big Apple on the list is San Francisco, CA, well-known for its tech- friendly business climate.
Rounding out the top 5 metros in the Fintech Leaders ranking are: Los Angeles, CA; Boston, MA; and Chicago, IL. A notable addition to the top 10 in the fintech rankings category is Salt Lake City, UT. Two firms in the region appear on the Forbes 2023 Fintech for 50 list, and finance and tech jobs in the area have grown nearly 20% in the past five years.
According to a report from Mordor Intelligence, the U.S. Fintech Market totaled $4 trillion in 2022, and is expected to register a CAGR of 11% from 2019 to 2028.
That’s due to growth in the various segments, including digital payments such as mobile payments and e-commerce, digital investing such as online brokers and robo-advisers, alternative funding such as crowdfunding, and online banking and online insurance marketplaces.
Food Processing & Agribusiness
In this 19th annual Metro Rankings Report, Brampton, Ontario has repeated as the top-ranked Food Processing hub.
As part of Ontario’s food industry cluster, the city of Brampton has a thriving food and beverage sector supported by industry-leading technology, top-quality products, and a rich agricultural tradition. Brampton’s food and beverage sector is a one-stop shop complete with food testing, processing and packaging facilities as well as transportation, packaging design, equipment and refrigeration storage.
In its 2022 economic report, the city reports the food and beverage processing industry contributes $1.3 billion annually to the Canadian GDP, employing about 8,500 people at some 300 companies.
Other ranked locations for Food Processing are: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA; Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO; Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MI-WI; Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX; Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL; Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA; New York-New Jersey-Jersey City, NY-NJ; Rowan County, NC; and Twin Falls, ID.
Agribusiness was added to Business Facilities rankings this year, and based on USDA figures and information from “Feeding the Economy,” a report published by a coalition of food and agriculture groups, 10 U.S. counties are listed this year. Defined here as businesses collectively associated with the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural products, both urban and rural locations made this list.
At county levels of total food output, counties with more urban populations outperformed other areas due to food sales in these areas of higher population density. Total jobs related to agriculture, manufacturing, and retail were considered. According to the data, the top five counties for total output in the food industry include Los Angeles County, CA ($266.33 billion); Cook County, IL ($167.55 billion); Harris County, TX ($144.57 billion); New York County, NY ($114.19 billion); and Maricopa County, AZ ($94.18 billion). The list is rounded out by: Dallas County, TX; Orange County, CA; San Diego County, CA; King County, WA; and Miami-Dade County, FL.
In March 2023, 25 food and agriculture groups, including the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, published the seventh annual “Feeding the Economy,” which provides a look at the contributions the agriculture industry makes to the economy by growing, processing, and producing food. According to the report, there was increased economic output in every state compared to 2022. These industries are responsible for over $8.6 trillion (or nearly 20%) of the country’s economic activity, directly supporting nearly 23 million jobs (15% of U.S. employment).
When analyzing the top counties for agriculture economic metrics, rural areas thrived in the “Feeding the Economy” report. The data shows that the top counties for total direct agriculture output were Lawrence County, IL ($4.41 billion); Kern County, CA ($4.12 billion); Merced County, CA ($3.34 billion); Bertie County, NC ($3.32 billion); and Monterey County, CA ($3.09 billion).
As the needs of business evolve, communities across the U.S. and Canada offer a variety of assets and characteristics that make them your company’s next potential location.