Several Indiana communities are ranked high on a national publication's list of 2014 “Leading Locations,” based on economic and work force factors. Five metropolitan areas in the state are in Area Development magazine's top 75, including Columbus, which is second overall. Indiana metro areas on the list are:

2. Columbus

35. Lafayette

57. Elkhart/Goshen

71. Indianapolis/Carmel

72. Fort Wayne

120. Louisville-Jefferson County, Ken./Ind.

136. Kokomo

170. Muncie

199. Gary

206. Bloomington

208. Terre Haute

229. Anderson

237. Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio/Ken./Ind.

239. Evansville, Ind./Ken.

249. South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind./Mich.

345. Michigan City-La Porte

June 23, 2014

News Release

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Area Development magazine has published its annual “Leading Locations” report based on 21 economic and workforce indicators, and Columbus, Indiana has been named the #1 small metro in the U.S. and best in the Midwest region. The Columbus, Indiana metropolitan statistical area also ranked an impressive #2 overall out of all 379 surveyed MSA’s in the nation. This is the third straight year that the Columbus, Indiana metro (population 79,587) has scored in the top three overall, achieving a #1 overall ranking in 2012 and up one position from last year's #3 rank.

“Despite sluggish national economic growth, these Leading Locations are MSAs that have managed to land new and expanded businesses and grow their local economies,” said Area Development's editor, Geraldine Gambale. “The rebirth of American manufacturing, advances in technology, and the energy revolution… have contributed to the growth of the leading MSAs.”

The Leading Locations index analyzed 379 MSAs, split into nine regions and three population size categories — big cities (over 600,000), mid-size cities (between 160,000-600,000) and small cities (below 160,000). The Columbus, Indiana metro area (including Bartholomew County), scored highest in “Economic Strength” (#1), “Recession-busting Cities” (#1), “Year-Over-Year Growth” (#2), “Manufacturing Growth” (#2), and “Employment Growth” for one-year (#1), three-year (#2), and five-year gains (#2). Columbus was the smallest of all U.S. metros to make the top five, with the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metro (pop. 1.8 million) taking the top spot in this year's overall ranking, followed by Midland, Texas (#3), Fargo, North Dakota (#4), and Bismarck, North Dakota (#5).

“The Columbus and Bartholomew County economy continues to do exceptionally well, and our success has been driven by local manufacturing growth along with hiring by back-office and headquarters operations,” said Jason Hester, Executive Director of the Columbus Economic Development Board.

More than one-third of all employment in Bartholomew County, Indiana, is tied to manufacturing, ranking Columbus & Bartholomew County in the top 2 percent of all U.S. counties for manufacturing employment strength. The Columbus metro, located less than one hour from Indianapolis along I-65, also had the 5th highest GMP growth in the nation, growing 9.6 percent in 2012 (latest year available), with 8.3 percent attributed to durable goods manufacturing according to U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis reports.

The 2014 Leading Locations report is available online at

About the Columbus Economic Development Board

The Columbus Economic Development Board (EDB) is the local economic development office serving Columbus and all of Bartholomew County, Indiana. The organization’s strategic goal is to grow & attract well-paying, high value-added, community-minded base/primary businesses by influencing and leveraging the area’s distinct capabilities in advanced manufacturing, design, and Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) education resources. The EDB’s approach is three-fold: (1) Work with existing primary employers to help them grow in Columbus and Bartholomew County, (2) Attract and recruit new companies to locate here, and (3) Work with fellow community leaders to build upon and continuously improve the area’s desirability to businesses and residents. Since the EDB’s founding in 1976, recruited companies today employ more than 4,000 persons locally and those jobs generate an annual economic output of $1.5 billion, including $283 million in annual household spending. More than 300 local expansions have also been supported, with $2.4 billion in recorded direct investment. For more information on the Columbus EDB and the services it offers, please visit

About the Area Development Magazine

Founded in 1965, Area Development magazine is considered the leading executive magazine covering corporate site selection and relocation. Editorial coverage provides valuable information pertinent to the factors, key issues, and criteria that affect a successful decision. Area Development is published quarterly and distributed to qualified executives within manufacturing, service sector, consulting and real estate related firms.

Sources: The Columbus Economic Development Board, Area Development Magazine

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