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NEWS FEED
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Kankakee County Named Illinois’ Top Small Metro for Business Again in 2014


KANKAKEE, IL – January 27, 2015 – Kankakee County retained its position in 2014 as Illinois' leading small metropolitan area in economic vitality, according to findings released in January by global economic think tank the Milken Institute. According to the report, the Kankakee-Bradley Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which shares boundaries with Kankakee County, ranked 57 of 179 small metros nationwide, first statewide, in Milken's 2014 Best-Performing Cities index, which measures objectively which U.S. MSAs are showing outstanding growth based on job creation and retention, the quality of new jobs, and other criteria.
 
Kankakee County also held Milken's top spot for small Illinois metros in 2013, outpacing counterparts like Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.
 
"The Best-Performing Cities index shows where employment is stable and expanding, wages and salaries are increasing, and economies and businesses are thriving," noted Economic Alliance of Kankakee County President/CEO Mike Van Mill. "Kankakee County has proven itself to be highly supportive of industrial expansion and a responsive partner to business. We are very pleased to see those strengths again reflected in this leading economic development index."
 
Of note, Milken's 2014 index ranks Kankakee County third nationwide among small metros in high-tech gross domestic product (GDP) growth 2008-2013, 14th in high-tech GDP concentration 2013 and 23rd in wage growth (2011-12).
 
"In terms of high-tech growth," added Van Mill, "Kankakee County's manufacturing is actually now classified as 'advanced manufacturing' pretty much across the board. Furthermore, the rate at which our largest industries, like CSL Behring, are expanding most definitely helps to drive rankings like the Milken Best-Performing Cities index."
 
Figures released in November by the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis support Milken's wage findings, showing Kankakee County leading most MSAs nationwide in personal income growth. According to the report, per capita personal income grew 4.7% here from 2012 to 2013, exceeding the U.S. growth rate of 2% and positioning Kankakee County sixth nationally for this indicator.
 
Specifically, Milken's Best-Performing Cities Index measures growth in jobs, wages, salaries, and technology output over five years (2008-2013 for jobs and technology output, and 2007-2012 for wages and salaries) to adjust for extreme variations in business cycles. It also incorporates the latest available year's performance in these areas (2012-2013 for jobs and technology output, and 2011-2012 for wages and salaries). In addition, it includes a measure of 12-month job growth (August 2013-August2014) to capture recent momentum among metropolitan economies.
 
According to Milken, employment growth is weighted more heavily because of its critical importance to community vitality, as is growth in wages and salaries because it signals the quality of the jobs being created and retained. Other measures reflect the concentration and diversity of technology industries within the MSAs. High-tech location quotients (LQs), which measure the industry's concentration in a particular metro relative to the national average, are included to gauge an area's participation in the knowledge-based economy. Milken also measures the number of specific high-tech fields (out of a possible 22) whose concentrations in an MSA are higher than the national average.
 
Best-Performing Cities is solely an outcomes-based index. It does not incorporate input measures (business costs, cost-of-living components, and quality-of-life conditions such as commute times or crime rates). According to Milken, these measures, although important, are prone to wide variations and can be highly subjective.
 
The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County is a public-private partnership that works to create jobs and expand the economic base by improving the local business climate. For more information, visit kankakeecountyed.org or phone 815.935.1177.