LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — When a prospective business owner decides where to set up shop, or a promising young graduate considers the best place find a job, they ask themselves the same key question as any savvy investor picking stocks: Where’s the most upside?
It’s also the basic question MarketWatch addresses in new rankings of the 10 cities in 2012 that saw business prosper the most. Using a variety of economic data to evaluate business conditions in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the survey not only ranks the top and bottom locations, it illuminates the business climate, what powers growth and how well companies are increasing sales, profits and stock prices.
The results of “Top Cities for Business Growth in 2012” demonstrate that geography has no impact on a region’s economic prosperity, and that a healthy business environment can be created just about anywhere — and in relatively short order.
It does show that metro areas with strong ties to technology and energy fared well during the year — and those areas building up a presence in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical space are getting a bonus in jobs and general wealth.
Generally, however, cities with a diverse economy and an array of industries and companies did better in the study. We found that variables such as climate and quality of life often have little to do with whether a region thrives; it’s more the concentration of businesses and talent that make the difference.
Not surprisingly given the importance of technology, both San Jose and San Francisco made the top 10. Yet they were outranked by Houston, where energy has a massive presence and biotechnology firms are multiplying each year.