Siouxland Retains Economic Development Crown

The Sioux City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) retained the nation’s top spot for economic development for populations under 200,000 according to results released by Site Selection magazine in their 2021 annual rankings. The news, hailed by elected officials and local business leaders, represents the third year in a row and tenth time Siouxland has ranked first in the nation since initially earning the coveted spot in 2007.

According to results released this morning by Site Selection magazine located in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, the Siouxland tri-state MSA earned the national ranking for its population category for January through December 2021. Siouxland also finished first in 2019 and 2020.

The announcement was made following a Siouxland Industrial Roundtable event sponsored by The Siouxland Initiative (TSI) and the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce which was keynoted by Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts at the Mariott Riverfront in South Sioux City, Nebraska. In sharing the recognition, Governor Ricketts was flanked by Adam Bruns, the Managing Editor of Site Selection magazine and Mike Wells, the President and CEO of Wells Enterprises in Le Mars, Iowa, who currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of TSI.

Addressing a gathering of local business executives, community leaders, and elected officials, Bruns, who traveled from Atlanta to deliver the news, stated, “With projects from such companies as JST Global in Dakota City, Nebraska; K&K Mobile Storage in North Sioux City, South Dakota; Ag Processing in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; and Oracle Aviation in Sioux City, Iowa; the tri-state allure of Greater Siouxland appears as steady as the flow of the Missouri River that runs through it.” Bruns, who has visited Siouxland on multiple occasions in the past, indicated that he has watched projects locate in the region for most of his 20 years as Managing Editor of Site Selection.

Governor Ricketts, whose keynote presentation to the Siouxland Industrial Roundtable attendees focused on tax relief, economic development, and strengthening Nebraska’s workforce, welcomed the positive news from Site Selection magazine. “Nebraska is no stranger to national recognition for strong economic development. It’s part of what makes our state the best place to live, work, and raise a family. I’m proud of northeast Nebraska’s significant contributions to the tri-state region’s exceptional economic development.”

Mike Wells, who is serving his second year as the Chair of TSI, a not-for-profit economic development organization which has historically focused on increasing and enhancing employment opportunities throughout the Siouxland area, added, “Despite the ongoing challenges presented by COVID, as well as the labor force issues created by historically low unemployment, our Siouxland economy continues to perform at a remarkably high level. I know that I speak for our entire community when I express my genuine gratitude for the many companies who could locate and expand anywhere in the nation but consistently choose to do so in Siouxland.”

Underscoring the fact that this award is recognition of three states working together as a single economic region, TSI President, Chris McGowan explained, “As has been the case nearly every year in the past, all three Siouxland states and each Siouxland community contributed to the region’s overall success. This award is collective recognition of the collaboration and cooperation that our Siouxland tri-state area and The Siouxland Initiative have promoted for nearly three decades.”

Ag Processing, Inc., led the Siouxland region’s impressive performance in calendar 2021 with their $70 million expansion at Port Neal near Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.
Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, AGP was well represented at today’s announcement with several of their senior executives, including CEO Chris Schaffer, present for the Governor’s speech, as well as the Site Selection announcement.

Siouxland also earned the top national ranking for per capita economic development performance. This is the second year Site Selection has published per capita rankings for individual communities and the second year that Siouxland has led the nation in this new category.

Each March, Site Selection magazine publishes its annual rankings. The publication specifies, “Qualifying projects are those meeting one or more of Site Selection’s criteria for inclusion in the Conway Projects Database: a minimum investment of $1 million, creation of 20 or more new jobs or 20,000 square feet or more of new space.”

The 2021 ranking marks the tenth time since 2007 that the Sioux City metro has ranked first in the nation in its population category by Site Selection. The Sioux City MSA was also recognized as the top economic development community for populations under 200,000 in 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020. The Siouxland metro ranked second in both 2009 and 2014 and finished third in 2006 and 2018. The metro region has ranked in the top three nationally in its population category a remarkable fourteen of the last sixteen years dating back to its first appearance on the list at third place in 2006.