Fort Wayne's Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is doing well; in fact, we rank in the top 15% for economic and job growth nationwide. That's according to a recent study by Area Development magazine.
The magazine's analysis entitled Leading Locations for 2012, was compiled by Area Development, a national publication covering site selection and facility planning. The study ranked 365 MSAs across 23 economic and workforce indicators. Information was gathered from seven data sets originating with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and U.S. Census American Community Survey.
The publication's examination of 365 MSAs ranks the Fort Wayne MSA as the 51st top location. Fort Wayne's MSA includes the counties of Allen, Whitley and Wells.
The report states that the Top 100 "Leading Locations have found a way to thrive in the midst of adversity; to prosper while so many places have struggled."
Geraldine Gambale, editor for Area Development, had good things to say about Fort Wayne. She noted that we placed in the top 15 percent of the 365 MSAs ranked by Area Development, and were ranked 11th among the Top 20 Midwest Cities. She also noted that our near-term economic performance — which includes one-year employment growth, growth in hourly earnings, and a bounce-back in manufacturing employment, in particular — has made Fort Wayne one of the nation's top 'recession-busting' locations.
Fort Wayne ranked 16th in the "Recession-Busting" category -- out of the 365 MSAs. The "Recession-Busting" category compared economic indicators from 2009, the height of the recession, to the most recent data. This was intended to show which cities have come back the furthest from the worst point of the recession. According to the report, the "Recession-Busting" data "provides a measure of an MSA's overall resiliency in productivity during the recession."
It's important to continue efforts to revitalize our downtown, improve our quality of life, focus on educational attainment for residents and make our region welcoming and attractive for business leaders. When Fort Wayne thrives, the entire MSA thrives.
In addition to our overall ranking, and rank in the list of Top Midwest Cities, the Fort Wayne MSA was ranked 16th among the Top 50 Mid-Size Cities.
The full study is available online at www.areadevelopment.com/LeadingLocations2012.
I know we still have work to do, but we have worked hard to create a climate where businesses are able to grow. Among the companies that are expanding are General Mills, General Motors, Greatbatch Medical, Sweetwater and Franklin Electric. Companies such as these, combined with the efforts of state and local government to promote business growth, are really pushing economic growth in our region.
Speaking of General Mills, I'm told that construction of their new Customer Service Facility on Bluffton Road is right on schedule. The $36 million, 1.5 million square foot facility is expected to be completed next month and will be up and running in September. Those interested in applying for jobs at the facility, should send resumes to Exel, Inc. at P.O. Box 9190, Fort Wayne, IN 46899-9190. The General Mills Human Relations Department collects all applications and resumes from the PO Box on a weekly basis.