Matt Anderson
Matt Anderson


Des Moines has come out on top of another ranking - this time in a comparison to other Midwest cities.


Des Moines ranked first in a competitiveness index study of 100 Midwestern cities done by the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute.


The report looked at metropolitan statistical areas in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and selected the 99 most similar to the 419,000 population of Fort Wayne as comparison areas. The largest MSA in the report was Cincinnati, with just more than 2.1 million residents; the smallest was Sandusky, Ohio, with 77,000.


The 100 MSAs received a score based on seven measurements, including per capita personal income, long-term and short-term employment change, gross regional or metro product per capita and productivity. Des Moines received an overall score of 551.68 out of 700. Cedar Rapids was sixth, Iowa City was seventh, Dubuque was thirteenth, Waterloo-Cedar Falls was fifteenth, Ames was eighteenth, and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island was twentieth.


The study was commissioned for Fort Wayne business leaders to see how their city's economy fared against other Midwest cities of roughly the same size. The results prompted the Indiana News Center, which is made up of NBC affiliate WISE-TV and ABC affiliate WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne, to come to Des Moines for a special report on why the city is on a "job creation winning streak."


The reporter for the story, Jeff Neumeyer, interviewed Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Matt Anderson, assistant city manager for the city of Des Moines and Mary O'Keefe, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Principal Financial Group Inc.

"There are periods in the economy, where you are fighting and scrapping for every economic development project you can get," Anderson said in the story. "And there are other periods when things are going just right, when all the stars align, when projects come to you. Right now, we're in that nice little sweet spot in Des Moines."


The story highlighted Wells Fargo for adding thousands of jobs to the region in the past 10 years, Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. for investing in data centers, favorable tax policies, and Principal's coming downtown expansion.