May 9, 2021 (Source: Wall Street Journal) – Rising stars such as Greenville, S.C., Des Moines, Iowa, and Provo, Utah, built out vibrant economies even before the pandemic; now, they are drawing new workers and businesses
The pandemic is accelerating growth in midsize cities, positioning them to lead the charge in the nation’s economic rebound.
Even before Covid-19, these rising stars—such as Greenville, Des Moines, Iowa, and Provo, Utah—had been quietly building out vibrant economies in the shadow of bigger metropolises. During the pandemic, they have drawn workers and businesses with large and affordable homes, ample access to outdoor space and less congestion.
They also have a mix of high-tech jobs and old-line industries, including manufacturing and finance, that turned out to be more resistant to the downturn. They came through the year with fewer job losses and service cuts, and made quicker recoveries.
“They offer a lot of things you can’t really get in the big city,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo & Co. “They’re more affordable, and it’s so much easier to live there. And all of these industries are poised to do very well.”
The pandemic-fueled flow of jobs and residents out of New York, San Francisco and other large coastal cities will subside and likely eventually reverse, economists say. But the economies in some of these smaller metro areas have staying power.
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