This past February, the Milken Institute from Santa Monica, California ranked St. Joseph, MO as the 29 best performing small city in the United States. The independent economic think tank revealed that St. Joseph’s ranking in 2012 improved from a ranking of 51 in 2011. In a specific ranking for job growth, St. Joseph was ranked 45 for the years 2010 and 2011. What are these rankings telling us about St. Joseph? Why is it considered one of the best cities for jobs in the nation?
Economic analysts are seeing a trend where the best cities for jobs are moving away from the big cities by the oceans to more Midwestern and Southern cities. A study in the U.S. News “The Daily Beast” saw Midwestern cities like Columbus, OH, Louisville, KY, Pittsburgh, PA, and Indianapolis, IN all ranked within the top 25 best cities that are beginning to lure Americans from the coasts and back towards the center of the United States.
Analysts found that cities like St. Joseph that are smaller and less congested are attractive because they offer a good quality of life, culture, and job opportunities in a town that has affordable housing and goods, a low crime rate, and is a great place to raise a family. Employees looking to relocate somewhere are asking, “How far will my money go in this community?” They are looking for a place that is changing and growing, yet affordable.
St. Joseph’s Missouri Western State University (MWSU) and other local universities provide skilled future employers to the community. Worldwide companies and local shops provide varied and dynamic work opportunities. The Missouri Theater, Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, Robidoux Resident Theater, Allied Arts Council, MWSU, St. Joseph Museums, Inc., and several other city museums provide culture and entertainment to the community.
Economic analysts are seeing the trend that families want to locate in these economically dynamic, yet family-friendly communities. Large enough to have a professional symphony, yet small enough to bump into someone you know at the grocery store, cities like St. Joseph are becoming the best cities for jobs.
The St. Joseph Metro Chamber of Commerce has seen the growth in St. Joseph firsthand. In 2012, the Chamber’s economic development staff was involved with nearly 40 expansion and attraction projects. As large worldwide companies like Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. expand their business in St. Joseph, hundreds of new employees will need to be hired. With those expansions also may come employees who are transferred here from other larger cities from around the world.
As new families move into St. Joseph, the city keeps evolving both economically and culturally. Families from Germany, Mexico, India, and China are coming to St. Joseph and blending with the generations of families who have lived here since their ancestors plotted the land almost two centuries ago. From early cowboys to today’s scientists who create medicine for cows, this dynamic and historically-rich community is one of the best cities for jobs in the nation.