Study: Youngstown 11th least-costly

The study ranked midsize cities on costs of doing business.

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown ranked the 11th least-costly place to do business among 18 midsize U.S. cities/locations with populations between 500,000 and 1.5 million, according to a study by KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory firm.

The KPMG study ranked Little Rock, Ark., as the least-costly metropolitan area to do business among the eight locations. Contributing to Little Rock’s top ranking are competitive labor and investment costs and low transportation costs resulting from the city’s relatively central location.

Six cities in the southeastern United States ranked high in cost competitiveness, further contributing to the Southeast’s position as the lowest-cost region among the 56 continental U.S. locations studied.

KPMG said its 2008 Competitive Alternatives study measured 27 cost components that are most likely to vary by location, including labor, taxes, real estate and utilities as they applied to 17 industries, over a 10-year planning horizon. Data on a variety of non-cost competitive factors was also compared in determining the cost index for various cities. For comparison purposes, the national average was assigned a cost index of 100.0.

Youngstown’s cost index is 100.2, and Honolulu’s was 115, making it the most expensive place to do business among midsize U.S. cities studied.

According to the study, Little Rock had a cost index of 93.4, more than 6 percent below the U.S. national average. Among all cities examined in the continental United States, only Shreveport, La., with a 92.7 cost index, ranked ahead of Little Rock. The benchmark cost index of 100 is defined as the average of nine representative U.S. cities.

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