Local officials question Forbes ranking of Quad-Cities' job growth

Posted Online: Aug. 08, 2014, 7:07 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

DAVENPORT - Although a Forbes Magazine article lists Davenport in the bottom 10 places in the United States for job growth, local authorities, including Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, say it's not accurate.

The July 23 article was part of the magazine's 16th annual look at the "Best Places for Business and Careers (http://www.forbes.com/best-places-for-business/).

It rated the 200 largest metro areas on a dozen factors related to, "jobs, costs (business and living), income growth, quality of life and education of the labor force."

The magazine used data from Moody's Analytics, the U.S. Census and demographer Bert Sperling, who runs Sperling's Best Places.

Davenport's ranking includes the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

According to the magazine, the top 10 areas for job growth included five from Texas. Naples, Fla., was number one with a projected job growth of 4.1 percent through 2016. Davenport was 192nd, behind Flint, Mich.

Davenport's job growth was listed at 1 percent. Listed at number 200 was Albuquerque, N.M. with 0.2 percent.

Mayor Gluba and Ald. Barney Barnhill, 5th Ward, criticized the rankings at Wednesday's city council meeting.

On Friday, the mayor said Davenport has added about $755 million worth of increased assessed values in the last seven years, residential and commercial.

"We've made great strides, we've encouraged diversity," Mayor Gluba said.

The city has had 121 ribbon cuttings in 2014, and while not all were big businesses, the jobs add up, Ald. Barnhill said at Wednesday.

"We're closing in on a billion dollars worth of tax base," he said.

"So, it just amazes me. The growth we have, to have Moody's kind of knock us. I think somebody sitting behind a desk in New York needs to come down and find out the truth about certain economic growth in our community."

Quad City Chamber of Commerce vice president Paul Rumler said the figures are somewhat misleading. He said Forbes looked at the top 200 metro regions across the country, but there are 381 metro areas.

"To say we're in the worst is inaccurate," Mr. Rumler said.

"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average is 0.3 percent. So, I would say an accurate statement is, at 1 percent, the Quad-Cities Metropolitan Statistical Area's growth beats the national average and is in the top 200 metro areas in the country."

Mayor Gluba said the Quad-Cities had the second lowest unemployment rate in Illinois for June. Rock Island County's rate was 6.6 percent, down from 7.6 percent in June of 2013, while Scott County's was 6 percent, down from 6.1 percent in 2013.

Davenport city administrator Craig Malin said via email Friday he would have to read Forbes and conduct his own independent investigation.

"I'm sure Forbes would like me to buy a copy of their magazine or add some page clicks to their website, but I have actual work to do," Mr. Malin said. "Maybe I'll take a look at it over the weekend."

The magazine ranked the Davenport MSA 135th in "Best Places For Business and Careers",


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Sept, 30, the 273rd day of 2014. There are 92 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: The ARGUS Boys are very anxious to attend the great Democratic mass meeting tomorrow and we shall therefore, print no paper on the day.
1889 — 125 years ago: H.J. Lowery resigned from his position as manager at the Harper House.
1914 — 100 years ago: Curtis & Simonson was the name of a new legal partnership formed by two younger members of the Rock Island County Bar. Hugh Cyrtis and Devore Simonson..
1939 — 75 years ago: Harry Grell, deputy county clerk was named county recorder to fill the vacancy caused by a resignation.
1964 — 50 years ago: A new world wide reader insurance service program offering around the clock accident protection for Argus subscribers and their families is announced today.
1989 — 25 years ago: Tomato plant and other sensitive greenery may have had a hard time surviving overnight as temperatures neared the freezing point.

(More History)