By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The economic outlook for the Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area continued to improve during the past year, according to a second national study highlighting best-performing small cities.
The Milken Institute released the 2013 study last week and found that Anderson ranked 103rd among 179 small U.S. cities, which was an improvement of 32 spots from the 2012 ranking of 135th.
“Job creation is the key measure of long-term economic vitality of America’s urban areas,” said Ross DeVol, chief research officer of the Milken Institute and co-author of the report. “Many of our financial and social challenges can best be addressed by developing local strategies to foster high-quality jobs, and our Best Performing Cities are showing the way.”
Anderson was ranked fourth among Indiana cities. Columbus was first in the state and second in the nation among small cities, followed by Lafayette (20th) and Bloomington (75th).
Muncie is ranked 122th, up 48 spots from its 2012 ranking. Elkhart/Goshen (104), Terre Haute (109) and Kokomo (115) all declined in the 2013 rankings.
“We are pleased that Anderson is receiving recognition from some national business and economic research and institutions,” said Greg Winkler, interim director of the Anderson Economic Development Department. “This reaffirms for the city we are on the right path and we must keep working hard to accelerate our forward progress.”
Winkler said Monday that Anderson will be home to two new emerging technology companies in 2014. He said the city has a verbal commitment from another company, and yet another company considering Anderson will make a final decision on a location early next year.
The city is negotiating with six other companies that have expressed an interest in locating in Anderson, Winkler said.
Earlier this month, HIS Global Insight reported Anderson is one of two Indiana cities that experienced accelerated economic growth from 2012 to 2013, according to a national study.
The study found Anderson’s 2013 growth is 2 percent higher compared to a 1.6 percent growth rate in 2012 and Kokomo’s growth rate for the same period was 2.2 percent as compared to 1.6 percent.
Both cities are expected to see economic growth in 2014.
Bob Tomarelli, an economist with HIS Global Insight, said the study considered a total of all goods and services in metropolitan areas. He noted that the shutdown of the federal government and the sequestration had a national impact, which was felt more in the areas around Washington, D.C.
“Jobs and investment have been and continue to be the number one priority of his administration,” Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said. “We accepted the challenge presented by The Anderson Herald Bulletin at the beginning of this administration. We are encouraged that the hard work of our entire team is producing such tangible results so quickly.”
Ranking Hoosier cities
According to the Milken Institute, here are the national rankings for economic performance in 2013 of Hoosier municipalities:
(179 total ranked)
109. Terre Haute
136. Michigan City/LaPorte
(200 total ranked)
104. Fort Wayne
176. South Bend/Mishawaka