For the second year in a row, theĀ Washington DCĀ metropolitan area ranked as the strongest local economy inĀ the United StatesĀ in POLICOMā€™s annual ā€œeconomic strengthā€ rankings. With an expanding federal government as its economic anchor, the metropolitan area has been virtually immune to the national recession.

TheĀ Des Moines, IAĀ metropolitan area placed 2nd in the rankings driven by the expansion of the Finance and Insurance sector.

POLICOM annually ranks the 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and 576 Micropolitan Statistical Areas inĀ the United StatesĀ for ā€œeconomic strengthā€ to enable POLICOM to study the characteristics of strong and weak economies in the country.

For the economic strength rankings for all areas, go toĀ

Concord, the capital ofĀ New Hampshire, is top among the 576 ā€œMicropolitanā€ areas. Micropolitan areas are smaller economies and do not have a city with a population greater than 50,000 people.

TheĀ Huntsville, ALĀ MSA improved significantly, jumping from 52nd to 16th place as a result of rapid growth in the high-wage Professional and Scientific Services sector.

ā€œThe top-rated areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time,ā€Ā William H. Fruth, President of POLICOM. POLICOM, located inĀ Palm City, FL, specializes in analyzing local and state economies.

ā€œThe rankings do not reflect the latest ā€˜hotspotā€™ or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation,ā€ Fruth continued.

The study measures 23 different economic factors over a 20-year period to create the rankings. The formulas determine how an economy has behaved over an extended period of time. Data stretching from 1991 to 2010 was used for this study.

POLICOM has created this study each year since 1997.

The following are the 10 strongest Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas.

2012 Ten Strongest Metropolitan Areas

1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA
2Ā Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
3Ā Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
4Ā Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN
5Ā Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
6Ā Salt Lake City, UT
7Ā Madison, WI
8Ā Kansas City, MO-KS
9Ā Sioux Falls, SD
10Ā San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

2012 Ten Strongest Micropolitan Areas

1Ā Concord, NH
2Ā Helena, MT
3Ā Lexington Park, MD
4Ā Gillette, WY
5Ā Sheridan, WY
6Ā Durango, CO
7Ā Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
8Ā Lebanon, NH-VT
9Ā Bozeman, MT
10Ā Grand Island, NE

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