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 Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)