I’ve been ragging on my home town of Richmond in recent months, based upon Brookings Institution data, for its lagging economic performance coming out of the recession. Now comes a ranking of metropolitan areas published by Policom Corporation in which the fair city upon the James fares quite well, 35th among the nation’s 366 metropolitan areas in 2012.
The Washington metro area scores numero uno — No. 1 — so our friends in Northern Virginia still have bragging rights. And Hampton Roads outscores Richmond, too, racking up a 25th place ranking. But No. 35 ain’t so shabby. When you consider that four Virginia metros (including Charlottesville) score in the top 10 percentile, the Old Dominion must be doing something right.
Here are the rankings for all Virginia’s metropolitan and micropolitan areas:
25. Hampton Roads (Norfolk-Virginia Beach)
295. Bristol/Kingsport/Johnson City
Outside Virginia’s major metro areas (and Charlottesville), the economy was not so hot. Danville residents call a Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission near you. Whatever they’re doing with all those tobacco allotment funds, it’s not working. (But Danville residents can take some consolation in the fact they don’t live in Danville, Ill. That pitiful burg ranked dead last.)
Policom rated economic strength by means of a composite of 23 factors including the level of, and growth rate of, earnings, jobs and personal income while deducting for welfare and Medicaid payments.
“The top rated areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time,” said William H. Fruth, President of POLICOM, a firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies. “The rankings do not reflect the latest ‘hotspot’ or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation. While most communities have slowed or declined during this recession, the strongest areas have been able to weather the storm.”