Portsmouth in National Top 10 Ranking

The City of Portsmouth was recently announced as one of the Top 10 Best Micropolitan Communities in the United States per Site Selection Magazine’s 2016 rankings.  The competition is based on the number of qualified economic development projects in areas with 10,000 to 50,000 population.

Portsmouth’s six qualified projects tied them with eight other cities for a 10th place ranking and, with two projects each, Cambridge and Chillicothe were in a multi-city tie for a 78th
place rank.

“We make projects happen by getting out and talking to our local businesses about what they need to do to grow and expand and learn what opportunities they have in allied industries.”

Jason Kester
Executive Director, SOPA

According to Kester, most of the projects were linked business retention and expansion calls – growing existing businesses.

In the past 18 months Scioto County has logged eight significant expansions, created over 100 jobs and had over $50 million dollars in new investment.

Ohio is #1

Overall, Ohio was the number one ranked state with 18 cities and 111 projects reported.  Findlay (Hancock County) was the number one ranked micropolitan for the third year in a row

“The number and diversity of the communities named to this list is proof that Ohio has the formula for success – access to exceptional resources, a competitive business climate and dedicated economic development teams working collaboratively at every level,” said John Minor, president and chief investment officer, JobsOhio.

The rankings, which began in 1988, are considered by corporate real estate analysts as the industry scoreboard.  Projects are counted which include headquarters, manufacturing plants, R&D operations and logistics sites meeting one of the following minimum criteria: $1 million in capital investment; 20 jobs created; or the addition of 20,000 square feet of new floor space.

What’s Working

Among the nearly 500 corporate facility projects scattered among the nation’s Top 100 micropolitan areas, certain patterns emerge. First, there is a strong correlation with interstate highways, with the jurisdiction often well placed and equidistant between larger markets. There is also a pronounced lean toward incremental growth by satisfied customers: 65 percent of the projects were expansions vs. new greenfield sites. As for industry sector, the trend persists from the world’s leading sectors in terms of project activity  — transportation equipment, plastics/chemicals, and everyone’s favorite industrial niche: food and beverage.

Communities that excel at economic development do so through persistent attention to business retention and recruitment, tax and regulatory strategies, technical assistance and workforce development.  In 2016, the efforts and rewards of Ohio micropolitans were not just impressive, they outpaced the rest of the nation by a strikingly wide margin.

Last but not least, the nation’s leading small towns are peppered with international flavor, as companies from Japan to Korea to Thailand to Germany to Israel find homes in areas many Americans would agree are not just business-friendly, but friendly in general.

Gary Daughters, Senior Editor, Site Selection
Adam Bruns, Managing Editor, Site Selector

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