Where are the best places to jump-start a business or a career? Texas and Virginia, with highly educated labor forces and relatively low business costs, score well on Forbes' annual ranking of the 150 biggest metros (populations over 345,000), with seven areas in the top 20. No other state places more than one locale in the upper echelon.
In the listing, Jackson comes in at #93 and Biloxi at #144.
Forbes' "Best Places for Business" puts the Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula metro area at No. 144 of 150 metropolitan places and has an accompanying article called "Biloxi Blues."
Other areas along the Gulf Coast were ranked higher than Biloxi-Gulfport-Pascagoula: Pensacola was ranked 76, Baton Rouge 90, New Orleans 110 and Mobile 121. (It's ironic that Jackson beat out New Orleans and Mobile because when people leave for other jobs - that's generally where they are going, if not Atlanta or Dallas.)
From The Sun Herald:
The article says the Gulf Coast region has a lot going for it, including "beautiful beaches," the largest shipbuilder, NASA, military bases, casinos and more. Then it says, so "how come it's such a mess?"
It cites two reasons: The failure of the state to pass new incentives for high-tech businesses and thwarting the gaming industry by preventing the University of Southern Mississippi from having a casino management course.
It said job growth over the last five years has been negative, income growth has averaged 1.3 percent, the work force is not highly educated, it has high crime rate, a minimal cultural life and more.
"For these dubious distinctions Biloxi wins recognition in this survey as a clunker city," said the article.
Forbes also ran a list of the best small metro areas. Hattiesburg was ranked 76 of 168 cities. Other cities from this region: Fort Walton Beach, No. 52, Panama City, Fla. 131, Houma, La., 157, and Lake Charles, La., 162.
Forbes' top places for business
1. Boise, Idaho
2. Raleigh, N.C.
3. Austin, Texas
4. Washington, D.C.-Northern Virginia
5. Albuquerque, N.M.
6. Huntsville, Ala.
7. Fayetteville, Ark.
8. Norfolk, Va.
10. Madison, Wis.