Both Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are recognized as “Best Places for Businesses and Careers” in Forbes magazine’s newest “best of” list. Cedar Rapids ranks number 11 out of the two hundred largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and Iowa City ranks number 13 among smaller metros (below 245,000 in total population.)
Forbes creates their rankings using community metrics such as educational attainment, projected job growth, unemployment and cost of living. Quality of life issues like crime rates, cultural and recreational opportunities, and net migration patterns are also considered.
Iowa City (iowacityareadevelopment.com) was ranked fourth nationally for educational attainment and posted one of the lowest unemployment rates of the top 15 communities at 4.3%, the lowest among Iowa communities.
ICAD Group President Joe Raso said both categories are important factors for companies considering expanding or entering the market. “Competition in economic development comes down to human capital,” said Raso. “Our clients and prospects require an available and educated workforce and our job is to help our area remain competitive.”
Last year, Cedar Rapids lead all 200 metros in the categories of projected job growth and projected economic growth. The year, the city was again ranked first for projected economic growth, and saw substantial gains in the categories of education attainment, income growth, job growth and cost of doing business.
“The diverse economy and strong industry clusters within the Cedar Rapids area make our community an attractive place for both existing businesses to expand and new companies to locate,” said Dee Baird, president of Priority One. “Our positive business climate and talented workforce allow us to compete with larger cities for major projects.”
Des Moines and Davenport were also ranked among the best large metros. In the smaller cities, Dubuque was the highest ranked Iowa community, followed by Waterloo, Iowa City, Sioux City and Ames.