There are a large number of lists of the best cities and states for businesses. Each has its own methodology, and rarely, if ever, are they the same. Among the most widely followed lists are those from CNBC, US News, Forbes, and our own analysis.
Some of these lists focus almost completely on financial considerations. Among these are tax rates, and tax credits. Other focus on the quality of life for employees. Still, others track transportation hubs and energy costs.
Recently, TollFreeForwarding released an analysis titled “the top 10 best cities for business in the US.” The study used seven yardsticks to create a final rating. These included 1) commuting times, 2) business rent prices,3) job growth, 4) the percentage of the population who had graduated college, 5) the survival rates of new businesses, 6) the city’s cost of living, and 7) projected growth of the metro area. A great deal of the information came from Statista.
The COVID-19 pandemic was taken into account. The authors wrote: “The pandemic has caused a shift in business, with owners and employees alike moving away from big, expensive cities like LA and NY for better opportunities and a higher quality of life elsewhere.”
Austin topped the list. Job growth, city financial growth, and a high percent of the population with college degrees were among the primary reasons. Austin’s growth is evidenced in new U.S. Census figures for 2020. It is now the country’s 28th largest metro. Its population grew an extraordinary 33% from 2010 to 2,283,371. This is among the highest growth figures among all US. metros.
Austin has also become a tech center which has started to rival those on the West Coast. Among its largest employers are Apple, IBM, Dell Technologies, Samsung, Amazon, Intel, and Oracle. Austin also has the advantage of the location of one of the largest universities in the state–The University of Texas at Austin. It has 50,000 students.
Several much smaller cities follow Austin on the list. Des Moines is in second place, followed by Madison WI, Provo, UT, and Fayetteville, AR.