National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top 10 Large- Sized & Mid-Sized Counties for 2017

Fourth Economy Consulting announces the latest release of its national community index, listing top counties from across the nation. The Fourth Economy Community Index highlights those communities ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth a 21st-century economy.

The latest edition of the Fourth Economy Community Index was released today,
recognizing the top ten large-sized and top 10 mid-sized Fourth Economy Communities. These communities — large-sized with populations between 150,000 and 499,999 and mid-sized with populations between 50,000 and 149,999 — were selected because they represent regions that are poised to achieve sustainable economic growth while attracting people and investment.

Top 10 Large-Sized Communities for 2017
1. Arlington County, Virginia
2. Norfolk County, Virginia
3. Shawnee County, Kansas
4. Chittenden County, Vermont
5. Pulaski County, Arkansas
6. Albany County, New York
7. Hampden County, Massachusetts
8. Minnehaha County, South Dakota
9. Peoria County, Illinois
10. Champaign County, Illinois

Top 10 Mid-Sized Communities for 2017
1. Christian County, Kentucky
2. Riley County, Kansas
3. Harrisonburg County, Virginia
4. Curry County, New Mexico
5. Liberty County, Georgia
6. Eagle County, Colorado
7. Vernon Parish, Louisiana
8. Story County, Iowa
9. Roanoke County, Virginia
10. Cascade County, Montana

The Fourth Economy Community Index is an independently conducted analysis intended to serve as a benchmark for community stakeholders to assess their capacity to attract and retain 21st-century investment while also improving the resiliency of their communities in response to future economic fluctuations.

“Accurately evaluating the factors communities possess for sustained economic growth and increased
investment is based on more than just a few statistics. Through our work nationwide, we’ve learned to dig deeper to discover what drives the economic success and higher quality of place that we see in these communities” said Rich Overmoyer, CEO of Fourth Economy Consulting, who released the Index. “The Fourth Economy Community Index highlights these factors that are essential to creating stronger, more economically resilient communities.”

“The Fourth Economy Community Index examines five elements that provide a foundation for sustainable economic success: Talent, Investment, Sustainability, Place, and Diversity. We selected a representative yet manageable set of indicators that were rigorously tested to provide insight into how a county is balancing these five elements,” says Jerry Paytas, Vice President of Research and Analytics at Fourth Economy Consulting. “There is no silver bullet for economic competitiveness. You have to do a lot of things well for a county to adapt to the dynamic and fluid global economy.”

The Fourth Economy Community Index has been expanded for 2017, adding new quantitative and qualitative measures, including factors involving the overall economic resiliency of the communities, new data on micropreneurs, and more.

About the Index
Key data for the Fourth Economy Community Index ( or #FECIndex) are collected from sources like the Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC, HUD, and others. Metrics that make up the five areas of Investment, Talent, Sustainability, Place, and Diversity range from traditional economic development concepts (like labor force, wages, and entrepreneurial activity) to ideas with origins in other disciplines (like measures of diversity, toxic releases reported to the EPA, and access to arts and entertainment). The full dataset contains 19 distinct measures, which are weighted based on observations of the data using multivariate analysis, and on the level of influence they have on both internal and external investment decisions. Because counties experience unique challenges and opportunities based on key attributes like population
size, we divide counties into four classification categories based on population: Mega-, Large-, Mid-, and Small-size categories. From here, we can observe the data and dig into what works without aspiring to one definition of success that is based solely on big cities.