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Mayor calls Valley’s low rank for business ‘almost comical’



Published: Fri, December 18, 2009 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Don Shilling

The mayor combats Youngstown’s poor ranking with large business expansions planned for the city.

YOUNGSTOWN — Mayor Jay Williams says it’s “almost comical” that a new survey says Youngstown is the worst city in the nation for business.

The bad news came Thursday from MarketWatch, a news service that annually ranks metropolitan areas based on two main business categories: concentration of large companies and economic stability.

The survey rated Youngstown as No. 101, or last. Although it primarily talked about the city, the rankings actually included the entire Youngstown-Warren metropolitan area.

“Have they ever been here? No,” Williams said.

Rather than a report compiled on economic data, Williams said he will use other methods to gauge the city’s progress. He pointed to V&M Star Steel’s proposed $1 billion expansion, Exal Corp.’s planned $300 million expansion and the Realty Tower luxury apartments that just opened downtown.

“These are people with real dollars invested in the ground here,” he said.

He also cited other reports that conflict the image left by the MarketWatch survey.

Entrepreneur magazine, for example, ranked Youngstown as one of the Top 10 cities in the nation to start a business, and Site Selection magazine named it as one of the Top 10 mid-sized metro areas for business expansion.

This is the first time the local area was included in the MarketWatch survey because past efforts only looked at the 50 largest metro areas. Last year, New Orleans finished at the bottom, but it rose to No. 92 this year.

The article said Youngstown finished in the bottom third of all of its metrics. Among the criteria were how many firms were listed on big-company rankings, including Fortune 1000, Forbes Private Companies, S&P 500 and Russell 2000. It also looked at annual payroll and employment.

For economic stability, the survey looked at unemployment, population growth since 2000 and gross domestic product for the area.

The article said Youngstown suffers from competition with larger Ohio cities and notes that the city has 75,000 residents as well as 4,500 vacant structures and about 22,000 vacant parcels of land.

Albert Sumell, assistant professor of economics at Youngstown State University, told MarketWatch the ranking isn’t surprising.

He said, however, that the city is showing signs of life.

He noted that the city is embracing its smaller size, has a business incubator that is having success with technology companies and a downtown that is “undergoing enough of a renaissance that The Economist magazine recently said it may have turned a corner.”

“I think in some ways, our history is worse than our future,” Sumell said. “I honestly believe our reputation, nationally, is worse than our potential.”

shilling@vindy.com

Worst cities

Bottom 10

The worst cities for business, as ranked by MarketWatch:

92. New Orleans

93. Bakersfield, Calif.

94. Detroit

95. Tucson, Ariz.

96. Augusta, Ga.

97. Worcester, Mass.

98. Stockton, Calif.

99. Scranton, Pa.

100. Fresno, Calif.

101. Youngstown-Warren

Inside

Des Moines, Iowa, handily beat all comers, including two-time winner Minneapolis-St. Paul, in this year’s MarketWatch survey that was expanded on several fronts. Story and chart, B5


Comments

1leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Maybe this is a case of the glass half full rather than half empty. So we're on the list of the top 101 cities for business. There's a lot of other cities out there that aren't on the list at all..........

But Mr. Mayor, if I were you, I'd not be pinning so much hope on V & M.

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2Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

All surveys are really useless. I never take stock in what these magazines put out.

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3boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

“Have they ever been here? No,” Williams said.

Perhaps because they don't want Jay's Youngstown 2010 song and dance.(2010 will be here in two weeks, Mr. Mayor) Or maybe they don't want to be robbed by some teenager who is a product of the (worst in the state) Youngstown School system. It was clearly stated that the report was based on economic data. Be glad they didn't include criminal activity and how it affects the decisionmaking of businesses not to locate in your dump of a city. Clean up the schools and the crime and business might not be so scared.

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4toomuchapathy(14 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Why would any business want to come to a city in "smart decline"? If the philosophy involves tearing down buildings/homes and adding green spaces, even farms, why would business want to come?

Also, Jay shouldn't be laughing at our schools, which is a huge factors when a business determines where to locate. Executives are not sending their children to the Youngstown City Schools.

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5Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Should be interesting what Parade magazine writes up on there recent visit.

http://www.wytv.com/content/news/loca...

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6Morbidcherub(30 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I'd say thats pretty accurate. Youngstown is a dump, end of discussion. There is NOTHING there and the only signs of life are being snuffed out by the rampant criminal activity that goes on daily.

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7MinisterD(25 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

The funny thing is I started a business in Fresno, CA, and moved to Youngstown. I am doing just fine. Don't believe everything you read, I guess...

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8Attis(908 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Denial is more than a river in Egypt. There seems to plenty of it flowing through the Moaning Valley.

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9Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Seems my family and friends all have a decent life and are raising there children just fine. I had a nice upbringing and I've moved to San Diego (Navy) and Tampa, and I'm back and living decent. You know, It's what you make of it. It's your desire to succeed and move forward with your life. Not b#$tch and moan about everything. No matter how much you complain about Youngstown, there is no paradise out there. If you open your mind up and read the news everyday you'll be amazed that it's not always greener on the other side. It's life and it's what YOU make of it. Noone else.
Merry Christmas everyone!

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10Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

and forgot to mention, I live in Campbell also.

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11candystriper(575 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

...I have visited 7 of the cities on the list...very violent crime related to gangs.

D.C. is to get a foot of snow ...

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