YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Youngstown has been named to two more national Top-10 lists, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber announced today.
The city was named the No. 1 city on SmartAssest.com's “Ten Best Cities for Healthcare Access for Your Money” list, while the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research ranked the Youngstown-Warren area 10th on its list of the country's top 100 metropolitan areas for economic performance from 2009 through 2012.
“We spend a lot of time focused on these rankings and we always have,” said the chamber’s president and CEO, Thomas Humphries, “even when we were on the other end of the scale and our performance was weak. Our goal over the last decade has been to get the diversity in the economy and start to get that performance back.”
Leading to the ranking in Manhattan Institute study was the foresight to see the impact that drilling in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays could have on the area, Humphries said.
“We focused on [that area] in 2010. We saw that as where the opportunity was and, while we don't have control of the wellheads, we knew they'd need supplies,” he explained. “What we focused on was, 'How do we build the supply network?' As a result, we've seen $5 billion invested and 2,000 new jobs in that industry along with nearly 2,000 supporting jobs.”
The historically low cost of living in Youngstown is the biggest factor in receiving SmartAsset.com's top rating, Humphries says.
“If you take a person's total income and the percent they have to spend on health care, it's lower here than it is [anywhere else],” he said. “Our cost of living has always been lower than other locations throughout the country.”
SmartAsset.com ranked Toledo third and Dayton eighth on its list. Manhattan Institute placed Columbus 12th, Toledo 13th and Cleveland-Elyria 16th in its rankings. Coming out ahead of the other major cities in Ohio is huge for the area Humphries remarked.
“It's important that people take these measurements seriously,” he added. “If you look at where we're competing today versus where we were a couple decades ago, it's far different. We all ought to be very proud of where we are today.”
With these two rankings, the Youngstown-Warren region has made it on 10 national Top-10 lists since 2012, including Forbes magazine's ranking of the Youngstown-Warren area as the fifth-best metro region to raise a family and Business Facilities magazine naming Youngstown-Warren sixth in the country for economic growth potential.
Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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