The Tupelo micropolitan area is featured in this month’s issue of Site Selection magazine for ranking second in the United States as the most active micropolitan for new and expanding industries. The magazine refers to it as the Tupelo/Lee County area although the Census Bureau includes Itawamba and Pontotoc counties in the official designation.
The area received this ranking by recording 15 existing industry expansion projects and five new facility locations that exceeded $40 million in capital investment and the creation of more than 440 new manufacturing jobs in 2005.
Over the past 20 years, 78% of the new manufacturing jobs created in Tupelo/Lee County have derived from expansions of existing industries. This past year, 79% of the new jobs created and 91% of the new capital investment were from expansions of existing companies.
David Rumbarger, president of the Community Development Foundation, says this national/international publication will give worldwide exposure to the area and enhance marketing efforts. “There are so many rankings that don’t portray the state in a good light, it’s always nice to make a positive top five ranking,” he said. “Thank goodness for our existing industries.”
Tupelo/Lee County is the only one of the state’s 19 micropolitans listed in the rankings. Unlike others, it is not losing population and is actually growing.
“This designation has helped us validate the value of smaller communities and what they have to offer. We get more recognition this way,” he said. “Usually you don’t find all the amenities of a micropolitan area plus an outstanding educational system like we have here. That’s been a focus of this community for 50 years.”