Ever since Inc. started ranking the Best Cities for Doing Business in 2004, the bottom rung of the rankings has been largely dominated by older industrial cities where factories have long been abandoned and once booming economies have dried up. The 2008 list bears this sobering fact: among the largest regions surveyed, Detroit sits on the bottom at No. 66, with Warren Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich., Cleveland, Providence, R.I., Philadelphia, and the New York twins—Rochester and Buffalo—doing only slightly better.
So given this persistent underperformance, is manufacturing weighing down the U.S. economy? The answer may surprise you.
Even though the industrial towns dominated by what used to be called the Big Three automakers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) and their suppliers have been devastated by slumping sales, a host of other manufacturing regions have emerged as strong performers. For the most part, the largest beneficiaries of these changes are located either in the Intermountain West–the region between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and the Sun Belt region stretching across the southern bottom of the country. Here, U.S. carmakers are not well represented and smaller communities with a host of specialized industrial companies have expanded in the face of tough times.
Source: Inc. Magazine
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