Economic Analysis Shows Improved Ranking for Corridor

By Kiran Sood, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — An improved ranking in a new economic analysis means growth across the Corridor, according to one expert.

The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Metropolitan Statistical areas both showed increased economic strength according an analysis released by POLICOM. Of the 366 metros measured, Cedar Rapids is ranked 54 and Iowa City is ranked 68.

Iowa City rose 34 spots compared to 2012. Cedar Rapids improved by 35.

As a region, the Corridor ranked second in the state behind Des Moines.

POLICOM analyzes local and state economies. The group annually ranks the 366 metropolitan statistical areas and 576 micropolitan statistical areas in the country for economic strength which is the long-term tendency for an area to consistently grow in size and quality.

The data sectors used in creating the ranking include overall growth in size and quality of the economy; the behavior of the economy; and the impacts of negative sectors on the economy, such as medical and income assistance. The study measures 23 different economic factors over a 20-year period to create the rankings.

The nine Iowa metros in the study are Ames, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux City and Waterloo. POLICOM has created this study each year since 1997.

"POLICOM's formulas determine how our economy has behaved over an extended period of time, not what has caused it to perform," said Mark Nolte, president of Iowa City Area Development Group. "Unlike other parts of the country, we're able to weather the highs and lows to provide stability for companies doing business here."

Bill Fruth, president of POLICOM, said Cedar Rapids has shown consistent improvement in its ranking over the past ten years.

"That's a sign that the economic foundation of the area is getting stronger," he said.

Fruth also noted that every economic metropolitan area in Iowa increased in the rankings this year. No other state did that, he said.

"The information can be another factor existing companies use when considering expansions and site location consultants can review when determining the best site for a new company location," said Dee Baird, president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

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