The annual State of the States report from Site Selection magazine includes the third edition of Rankings that Matter. Along with legislative, demographic, economic and education data points, the publisher also ranks all 50 states on elements relevant to corporate location decision-makers. Two of the six rankings cover workforce quality: Rank in total ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) earned per capita among working-age adults (as of December 2016) and College Attainment with the percent of working-age population ages 18-65 holding a two-year degree or higher (using Summer 2016 data from the Lumina Foundation). With the NCRC, Joplin remains the best performing metro in Missouri.
With a 20% improvement in Missourians with the NCRC now surpassing 80 thousand, Missouri ranks 20th nationally on the NCRCs per capita. Neighboring Kansas and Arkansas have similar NCRC rankings at 23rd and 24th, respectively. Oklahoma, a long-time champion of NCRC, ranks 7th in this measure.
NCRCs Per Thousand
For local comparison, the WIB generated NCRC Per Thousand rankings of Missouri’s six metro areas and the totals overall for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Joplin’s ranking of 49 NCRCs Per Thousand is four times the U.S. index overall, three times the index for the Show-Me State, and six times better than Missouri’s largest metros of St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City.
The WIB computed this index of each area’s population and the NCRCs recorded by ACT’s Work Ready Communities initiative (as of December 31, 2016). Metro populations are based on 2015 estimates while state populations are 2016 estimates. Joplin’s MSA includes Ottawa County in Oklahoma together with the Missouri counties of Jasper and Newton. The St. Louis MSA includes additional Illinois counties and the Kansas City MSA includes additional Kansas counties.
Other Rankings That Matter
Other rankings in the report include Rank in the Tax Foundation’s 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index (Oct. 2016), Rank in 2015 Higher Education R&D Expenditure (Total in $000s in parentheses), Rank by Lowest Industrial Electric Power Cost (¢/kWh), and Fiscal Condition Index (Mercatus Center at George Mason University, June 2016). The online version of the report indexes each state profile as a downloadable/viewable PDF. In the print edition of the magazine, the report begins on page 94.