The Columbia metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is ranked higher than Greenville and Charleston MSAs and is tied with Raleigh in livability, according to EngenuitySC’s third annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report.
The report, officials said, is a major annual initiative of EngenuitySC, an economic development nonprofit focused on enhancing the region’s competitiveness and prosperity.
The report analyzes economic competitiveness in the Columbia metropolitan statistical area, as compared with that of nine other metropolitan regions in the Southeast. It measures success based on the five major indicators of economic competitiveness: talent, entrepreneurial/business environment, innovation, industry clusters, and livability.
In the livability index, metrics including employment growth rate in arts, entertainment and recreation, cost of living, and vitality – the percentage of population ages 18-44 – push Columbia ahead of nearly all the comparative MSAs in the 2016 report.
“The importance of this report is really three-fold,” EngenuitySC Executive Director Meghan Hickman said. “First, it provides an annual gut-check as to where the region stands compared to our peer and aspirant regions. Secondly, it tells us where we’ve made progress and where we need to focus more resources, Lastly – and most importantly – it provides a road map to inform decision-making and catalyze action across the Midlands.”