For all of Atlanta's Sun Belt appeal, rich talent pools and blossoming urban neighborhoods, the city has failed to crack the top 10 in Forbes' annual ranking of the country's fastest-growing metro areas. In fact, with a population growth rate of 2.05 percent, Ogden Freakin' Utah (No. 7) appears to be eating the ATL's lunch, relatively speaking. Even Orlando's mojo puts our city's to shame, by Forbes' estimation, with growth rates (1.82 percent) significantly higher and unemployment rates (5.7 percent) lower. On the 2014 list, Atlanta is wedged between Seattle (No. 11) and another Utah powerhouse: Provo. Is this a cause for concern, or does The Big Peach have enough people (and people-transport issues) already?
Forbes defines the local MSA as Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta. They peg Atlanta's median pay at $62,500, the 2013 population growth rate at 1.27 percent and unemployment rate at an improving but still painful 7 percent. For context, Salt Lake City's (No. 5) unemployment rate is 4 percent.
Now let's compare Atlanta with Austin (No. 1), Forbes' reigning "fastest-growing" champion for four straight years.
The Live Music Capital of the World chalked a booming 2.5 percent population growth last year and watched its economy expand by nearly 6 percent. Those are getting close to China numbers. Phoenix must be doing something right, too, jumping a whopping five slots to No. 3 this year.
The Forbes list is based on six metrics from various sources, including the estimated growth rates of population, jobs and gross metro product. Unfortunately, "ineptitude when faced with frozen precipitation" wasn't a metic.
· America's 20 Fastest-Growing Cities [Forbes]
· On National Scale, What 'Tier' Does Atlanta Deserve? [Curbed Atlanta]