St. Louis ranks a respectable 86/200 in Top US Cities for Business & Careers by Forbes

April 6, 2009 posted a Special Report called “Best Places For Business and Careers” on March 25, 2009.

photo by Timothy K. Hamilton

photo by Timothy K. Hamilton

Everybody wants to be #1, but in this tough economy, I think it’s respectable for an older city in the Heartland (St. Louis) to come in at #86.

St. Louis beat out some seemingly more desirable cities like Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts; New York, New York; Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada; San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calfornia.

Chicago came in at #71, and I love to visit Chicago every year or so to get my fill of the hustle and bustle of the USA’s third largest city; however, the comparative numbers between Chicago & St. Louis in this report are not troubling for me. As the saying goes, there are “Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Businesswoman reads documentHere’s what I know: St. Louis has a much lower cost of doing business than Chicago, according to the report, and the lower job growth projected for St. Louis in the same report indicates a wide open opportunity for astute business persons looking to expand into the center of the US. So, I say, “Come on to St. Louis!”

New college graduates across Illinois and Indiana have for decades checked out Chicago for jobs, seen the over-abundance of competition for the same positions there, and brought their talent to St. Louis, instead.

They get better jobs sooner in St. Louis than in Chicago, and they decide to stay in St. Louis for the combination of opportunity, affordability and quality of life.

I know a lot of people who were born and raised and educated in Chicago. I would never want to put down their wonderful home town. I know them because they chose to live in St. Louis, though. Chose. To. Live. In. St. Louis.


The following photos by Timothy K. Hamilton, Creativity+, show some of the quality of life features in St. Louis, and more of Timothy’s spectacular work can be seen at his photostream on > LINK <.

According to,

in the 2000 census, Chicago’s working age population (i.e., between the ages of 25 & 64 years old) was counted at 1,513,663.
in the 2000 census, St. Louis’s working age population (i.e., between the ages of 25 & 64 years old) was counted at 173,877.

The Forbes rankings were based on a complicated mix of things, described this way on’s Web site,

(Rank)1 calculation: Index based on cost of labor, energy, taxes and office space.
(Rank)2 calculation: 3-year annualized figures.
(Rank)3 calculation: Share of Population over age 25 with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Sources: Moody’s; Sperling’s BestPlaces.

Here are number for the first and last ranked, for Chicago and for St. Louis.

Rank = #1
Metro Area = Raleigh, North Carolina
Cost Of Doing Business (Rank)1 = 16
Job Growth Projected (Rank)2 = 15
Educational Attainment (Rank)3 = 11
Metro Area Population (in thousands) = 1,086

Rank = #71
Metro Area = Chicago, Illinois
Cost Of Doing Business (Rank)1 = 154
Job Growth Projected (Rank)2 = 50
Educational Attainment (Rank)3 = 42
Metro Area Population (in thousands) = 7,992

Rank = #86
Metro Area = St. Louis, Missouri
Cost Of Doing Business (Rank)1 = 76
Job Growth Projected (Rank)2 = 140
Educational Attainment (Rank)3 = 98
Metro Area Population (in thousands) = 2,839

Rank = #200
Metro Area = Modesto, California
Cost Of Doing Business (Rank)1 = 135
Job Growth Projected (Rank)2 = 190
Educational Attainment (Rank)3 = 192
Metro Area Population (in thousands) = 513

Here’s a > LINK < to a cool interactive US map with the cities and their rankings called out.

Image of St. Louis arch + fireworks and courthouse dome by Creativity+ Timothy K. Hamilton


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