Rural Communities Attracting More Big-City Employers

November 10, 2009 by Emsi Burning Glass

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In light of current economic conditions, more agile companies are looking for ways to cut labor and production costs by relocating to rural communities. This has thrust many small towns in the fray of heady economic development efforts, according to a recent article .

The piece gives some nice examples of small towns through the Dakotas and Minnesota that are reaping the benefits of employers’ desire to leave the high costs and congestion of metropolitan areas.

“Small towns will become increasingly important in corporate site selection in the next decade,” says Dennis Donovan, a principal in the Bridgewater, NJ-based Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting corporate site selection firm. “Communities that show well and are fully prepared for business will do well. Many companies want to be in smaller communities with lower costs and better labor market conditions.”

Smaller, more out-of-the-way cities generally fly under the radar of site selectors, but there are benefits for businesses looking to locate in smaller areas.

“There definitely are advantages of smaller communities,” says Dan Johanneck, executive director of the Crookston (MN) Housing and Economic Development Authority. “Cities like Crookston have some excellent opportunities without the higher business costs of larger communities.”

For more on how EMSI can help small-town EDCs in their development efforts, check out this case study on Grant County, Washington.