By JACK WEATHERLY
Two recent reports on “micropolitan” areas are markedly different because of how they measure economic strength.
Oxford ranked No. 8 among 542 areas whose populations range from 10,000 to 50,000 in a report from the Policom Corp.
Oxford is not even mentioned in a ranking of such areas in a report from Site Selection magazine.
Tupelo was ranked 102nd in the Policom survey.
Site Selection taps Tupelo as No. 2.
“You’re comparing apples to cattle,” said William Fruth, president of Policom.
Site Selection bases its rankings on the number of new or expanded businesses in the most-recent calendar year, referred to by the magazine as “projects.”
Tupelo, for example, counted 10 in 2019, trailing only Findlay, Ohio, which reported 17.
Also by contrast in the two surveys, Natchez was ranked No. 520 by Policom but was tied with Clarksdale at No. 59 by Site Selection. Clarksdale was in the Policom 541st place, only one from the bottom.
Policom defines economic strength as “rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period.”
Policom uses a rigorous methodology to determine rankings among micropolitan areas. To examine the methodology go to policom.com/wp-content/uploads/2020-STRENGTH-RANKINGS.pdf and do a control left click
Towns and cities use favorable mention in Site Selection, as the name of the publication suggests, to promote the town or city to attract investors.
“The success of 2019 is yet another step in Tupelo and Lee County’s long-term strategy for economic growth,” Lee County Board of Supervisors President Tommy Lee Ivy is quoted as saying in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
The magazine called Tupelo a “Top 10 stalwart,” matching its second-place finish in 2008.
Site Selection‘s parent, Conway Inc., states on its website that it “has connected corporate investors and economic development organizations for more than 65 years.”
“At Conway we have a passion for promoting and growing economies. We specialize in creating tailored communication campaigns that put your community on the map!”
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