The Economist Intelligence Unit just released its “Hot Spots” report on the world’s most competitive cities. In addition to interviews with business leaders and mayors, the survey looks at 31 individual indicators. It states: “Competitiveness…is a holistic concept. While economic size and growth are important and necessary, several other factors determine a city’s overall competitiveness, including its business and regulatory environment, the quality of human capital and indeed the quality of life. These factors not only help a city sustain a high economic growth rate, but also create a stable and harmonious business and social environment.”
Here’s how Seattle ranks: 29 overall (New York is No. 1); 28 in economic strength (Tianjin, China, is No. 1); 26 in physical capital (Vancouver No. 1); 33 in financial maturity (Zurich No. 1); 10 in institutional effectiveness (Zurich No. 1); 31 in social and cultural character (Zurich, again, No. 1); 8 in human capital (Dublin No. 1); unranked in environmental and natural hazards (Montreal No. 1); 59 in global appeal (London No. 1).
In North America, Seattle ranks 12th overall. Many American cities, including Phoenix, the nation’s sixth largest city, don’t make the list of hot spots at all. Seattle, along with Houston and Dallas, is expected to grow at 4 percent, better than its North American and European counterparts, but far below cities in Asia.
According to the report, “Although many Western countries have sombre growth outlooks over the next decade, some of their leading cities may be able to harness their legacy advantages and global connectivity to continue to compete and succeed against fast-growing emerging market cities.” This is Seattle’s sweet spot and continuing edge.
You can download the entire report at www.citigroup.com/citi/citiforcities/pdfs/hotspots.pdf
It’s a reminder that Seattle’s competition for talent and capital is global, and the stakes have never been higher.
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