Columbus Earns Big Economic Honor

Columbus is known for its unique architecture, and for housing national headquarters for Cummins. But a national site selection magazine has given the city major kudos as the"Top Small City" in the U.S. for its economic attributes. Yet another asset for our great state.

Area Development, a national publication covering site selection and facility planning, today named Columbus, Indiana, the #1 U.S. city in its 2012 Leading Locations report. The publication ranked all 365 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) across 23 economic and work force indicators supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census American Community Survey.

Each MSA earned a best-to-lowest ranking, 1-365, within each of the 23 indicators, and the Columbus, Indiana MSA (which includes the city and surrounding Bartholomew County) realized the best overall performance across all indicators. Columbus also ranked as the #1 “Top Small City” in the U.S. (population under 160,000), the #1 “Top 20 Midwest City”, and received two top five and one top ten overall rankings in three sub-categories of Prime Work Force, Economic Strength, and Recession-Busting Cities.

“Accolades such as this are a very welcome acknowledgement of the type of business-friendly environment that we are working to provide in Columbus,” said Mayor Kristen Brown. “Even more important to us than national rankings, however, are the opinions of our local employers who ‘rank’ us each day by their continued investment and job creation activities.”

In its description of the local economy, the report referenced the sizable corporate headquarters of Cummins Inc., R&D and technology centers of Faurecia and Dorel Juvenile Group, and advanced manufacturing strengths exhibited by other leading employers such as NTN and Sunright America, both having announced hiring expansions in the last twelve months. Area Development highlighted the success this Midwestern community has had with local company expansions, noting that the community “has averaged one corporate expansion announcement a month since 2010, creating 1,840 jobs, and current employment figures there are the third-highest on record.”

“We are exceptionally strong in engineering talent, design expertise, and STEM-based education resources from grades K-16,” said Jason Hester, Executive Director of the Columbus Economic Development Board. “Combine those traits with our favorable business policies, a nationally recognized quality of life, and our central Midwestern location along I-65, and we like to think that we offer companies an ‘unexpected’ and ‘unforgettable’ place to do business.”

Area Development also announced the winners of its 2012 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards in recognition of projects undertaken in 2011 that are creating a significant number of high-value-added new jobs as well as investment. The ongoing Cummins headquarters office expansion in downtown Columbus, Indiana, was the state’s largest job-creation project cited in the report, helping Indiana win its fifth Shovel award in as many years. Once the new 130,000 s.f. office building is filled, Cummins will employ nearly 3,000 engineers, technicians, and professionals in a two-block area of downtown Columbus and more than 7,000 in total locally.

Other companies with recent expansions and hiring plans supported locally include Toyota Material Handling USA and Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, Enkei, LHP Software, Analytical Engineering, Rightway Fasteners, Nagakura Engineering, CAPCO, KAMIC, and several other Columbus-based enterprises.