Monday, 19 December 2011

Stockton, other Valley cities, at the bottom of yet another economic ranking. Few Corporate HQs in the Valley.

The Wall Street Journal’s “Marketwatch” ranked Stockton last of the 102 largest metro areas in the U.S. in a ranking of “Best Cities for Business.”  Inland California metro areas occupied the bottom 4 spots on the ranking: 102. Stockton, 101. Riverside, 100. Fresno, 99. Sacramento.  I hate these type of rankings, and have made fun of the Forbes “miserable city” rankings, including poking them for not posting their entire list so we can see what cities’ are “least miserable.”

The Marketwatch ranking is a little better, it at least publishes the whole list from top to bottom, and measures something much more specific.  It also includes some information on corporate headquarters that I have wondered and speculated about in the Valley, but never seen the data compiled.  I have often commented on the lack of a corporate, private sector presence in Sacramento compared to other places I have lived, and have also observed that many (most?) of the farming and food processing companies so important to the Valley are not headquartered here or owned locally.

The Marketwatch rankings include company rankings (S&P 500 headquaters, Forbes large private company hq, Russell 2000, etc.) and economic rankings (the usual suspects such as unemployment, job growth, etc.)  The Valley cities actually fared worse in the corporate rankings than the economic rankings.  [Detrioit, Dayton and Toledo Ohio were last in the economic rankings.]  Here are some interesting facts regarding the corporate presence in inland California according to Marketwatch.

  • Riverside has the distinction of being the largest city in the U.S. without a Fortune 500 or S&P 500 company within its borders. (Riverside/San Bernadino is the 13th largest MSA in the U.S. with a population of 4.2 million.)
  • Sacramento is the second-largest city, behind Riverside, with no S&P 500 or Fortune 500 firm. (Sacramento is the 24th largest MSA in the country, population of 2.1 million.)
  • Fresno, the Central Valley’s largest metro area, has no Fortune 500, S&P 500 nor Forbes private firms, and it is the largest city in the U.S. without a Russell 2000 company.
  • Modesto is the comparative, corporate stalwart in the Valley, and the smallest of the Valley metro areas in the ranking.  Still, it isn’t exactly impressive.  Marketwatch says, “Modesto does boast a decent lineup of Forbes private firms — Save Mart Supermarkets, E&J Gallo Winery and Foster Farms — but has no Fortune 500, S&P 500 or Russell 2000 companies.”
  • Fresno was last in the overall company rankings, followed by McAllen TX, Stockton, Bakersfield, and Sacramento. 

About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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