Chamber official questions Forbes' Q-C job ranking

2014-08-11T18:15:00Z 2014-08-12T12:04:10Z Chamber official questions Forbes' Q-C job rankingDoug Schorpp dschorpp@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times

The Quad-City economy is strong and on the upswing, despite a recent Forbes magazine list that ranks this metro area near the bottom in terms of job growth.

That's the opinion of Paul Rumler, executive vice president and chief economic development officer with the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

The ranking was 192 out of 200 in terms of job growth for Davenport, which really means the Quad-City metropolitan statistical area — Scott, Rock Island, Mercer and Henry counties.

"I don't put a lot of stock in Forbes magazine," Rumler said. "They are looking at job growth between now and 2016. It is all based on Moody Analytics over the next two years."

Rumler said he sees flaws in Forbes' numbers and conclusions which makes him believe the opposite of the low ranking.

"There are 381 metro areas in the country and over 500 micro areas," he said. "They only count 200 metro areas in the survey, so we are not really near the bottom of all metro areas. They have taken a smaller sample size and are judging them against each other.

"We have had some great progress over the years. At the chamber, we are very focused on job growth and we have many strategies in place."

Rumler said that earlier this year, new economic strength rankings released by Policom Corp. listed the Quad-Cities among the top 25 percent of metropolitan statistical areas nationwide, placing it 82 among 381 MSAs.

Policom specializes in analyzing local and state economies and annually ranks them for economic strength, or the long-term tendency for an area to consistently grow in size and quality. It takes into account 23 different economic factors over a 20-year period to create the rankings.

Rumler said the chamber reports $431 million in projected investment and $563 million in projected new jobs in the next three years.

Bill Lynn, an economics professor at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, and a former Davenport alderman, sees things differently.

"I think the reality is, when you take into account the Illinois side ... over there, I am stunned so many empty buildings are there," he said. "Quite frankly, the Illinois side is dragging us down. Part of the issue, too, is there is not much job creation across the river.

"The big thing is, we just don't create a lot of new businesses. I am not real surprised at what they call slow job growth because we are not growing. It is a tough climate. I look at the unemployment rate, and it is not that bad. But while the national rate is going down, much of it is because either people are taking part-time jobs or they are dropping out of the search."

Naples, Fla., was rated No. 1 in job growth, the magazine reported.

“Demographic trends are healing and coming back,” said Arijit Dutta, an economist at Moody’s Analytics who tracks the Naples area.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. conservative
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    conservative - August 19, 2014 12:22 pm
    By happenstance I was reading an article about business decline in Illinois when this article caught my attention. Illinois unemployment rate is not going down because of job growth. It is going down because people are leaving the workforce and the total number of jobs are declining. This is why our young people are leaving.

    Recently, a major insurance company announced plans to move from Rock Island to Iowa. The news media was all asking "were they lured out of the Illinois QC by another city?" The answer or course is no. No mayor in Iowa needs to do anything to lure businesses from Illinois. The state of Illinois is doing it for them. Businesses are moving from a state that is looking for solutions in higher taxes and a more hostile business environment to a state with a welcoming business environment.

    It is unfortunate that politics in the Chamber of Commerce are preventing their leadership from calling a spade a spade and identifying the problem. The first part of solving a problem is identifying the source. The QC Chamber refuses to do this. Very unfortunate. Rather than call into question the veracity of an article in Forbes, Mr Rumler would be better off using it as a bully pulpit to call for reform in Illinois.
  2. mike
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    mike - August 11, 2014 7:20 pm
    Places that have plenty of jobs will see population growth. Places that don't, will have a stagnant population. The Quad Cities hasn't grown its population beyond their 1970 census numbers. It's a statistical fact the QC job market is at a standstill. Until Rumler and the rest of our civic leaders address this reality, the trend will continue or get worse.
  3. JKnox
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    JKnox - August 11, 2014 6:49 pm
    Yeah. Until we get rid of the baby boomers there just aren't going to be jobs. The QCA is not a white collar place either. Really no good outlook for growth that I hear from any major industries. Just more closed doors and layoffs.
  4. Wags a lot
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    Wags a lot - August 11, 2014 6:33 pm
    This is an interesting article but the reality is that both of my sons-in-law left the area due to jobs in other communities. Neither could find a job in the QCA in their areas. They didn't want to move but had to in order to support their families. Sad but true..
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