Press Release

November 3, 1999
Press Conference Transcript

Charts & Graphics
Best viewed when printed out.

  • If City/County Metro Economies Were Nations
  • How City/County Metro Economies Rank Among Nations and States
  • If City/County Metro Economies Were States
  • Economic Gains 1
  • Economic Gains 2
  • Economic Gains 3
  • Economic Gains 4
  • Economic Gains 5
  • Gross Metro Product (GMP) vs. Gross State Product (GSP)
  • Metro Top 100

    Landmark Report Finds Metro Areas Drive Robust U.S. Economy

    New Analysis Shows that Many Metro Areas Outpace States, Even Nations, in Economic Growth

    WASHINGTON, DC -- The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) have released a report today that finds that cities and counties within metropolitan areas are the focal points of America's current and future economic prosperity. Compiled by Standard & Poor's DRI, the report documents the Gross Metropolitan Product* (GMP) of the nation's 317 largest metro areas, and shows improved economic vitality for the nation's metro regions.

    In a statement made before the release of the report, Conference of Mayors President and Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said, "the new data we are releasing makes clear that metropolitan economies are the engines of America's growth and driving the current economic boom. Metro regions are growing, producing more, and creating unprecedented levels of employment."

    As an example, Webb cited the current levels of growth in the Denver area, where the economy last year grew by an astounding 10.64% (a rate more than twice the national average). At $72.5 billion in GMP, Denver ranks as the 63rd largest economy in the world, shooting up six spots from its ranking of 69 last year.

    According to the report:

    • U. S. metro areas account for 84% of the nation's gross domestic product,
    • Metro areas are now generating 84% of the nation's employment and 88% percent of the nation's income, and
    • Metro economies are responsible for 89%, or more than $2 trillion, of the nation's economic growth from 1992 to 1998.

    The report also ranks U. S. metro areas relative to states and national economies around the world. Among the findings:

    • Since last year, 38 of the top 40 metro economies in the U. S. improved their world rankings, for example, Chicago moved from 21st to 20th, Washington, DC from 30th to 28th, and Dallas moved from 42nd to 37th,
    • If city/county metro economies were ranked with nations, 47 of the world's largest 100 economies would be U.S. metro areas,
    • The GMP of the ten largest U.S. metro areas exceeds the combined output of 31 states, and
    • Metro economies often exceed states and nations. For example the New York City economy produces more than Australia, and the Atlanta metro area economy produces more than Finland. Regarding comparisons with states, the Buffalo metro economy exceeds Hawaii's, and the New Haven metro economy exceeds Nevada's.

    According to NACo President and Howard County Chairman C. Vernon Gray, "This report tells a story of a robust national economy driven by metro economic engines. It describes the scope of metro areas, their vital contribution to the nationís economy, the level of income creation by metro areas, generation of new industries by metro areas, and the relationship between metro areas and the nationís overall economic growth."

    The study also finds that metro economies ignore state and local boundaries, and that state and local boundaries are increasingly irrelevant to economic growth. Many metro economies are located in two or more states and encompass many communities. City and county leaders believe the new data demonstrate that public policies and economic planning must focus on the needs of metro regions, rather than artificial political boundaries. For instance, of the nation's 317 metro areas, 31 are contained in two states, while another four are contained in three states.

    In commenting on the report, Wayne Curry, Prince George's County Executive and Chair of NACo's Large Urban County Caucus, said, "I believe this data builds a strong case for investment in metro economies. I want to make it clear that when we refer to the growing economic irrelevance of state boundaries, weíve got the numbers to back that claim."

    Mayors and county leaders believe national and international economic policies must focus on the needs of the 317 economically potent metropolitan regions surveyed in the report. New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial said, "We believe the data sustains our call to Presidential candidates to support economic growth by investing in transportation, distressed communities, and education and training."

    The data being released today is the second annual report, entitled "U.S. Metro Economies: The Engines of America's Growth". Copies of the report, charts, graphs and accompanying data and information are available to members of the media who contact the press offices of NACo or USCM. In addition, much of this information will be posted at /uscm.

    NACo was created in 1935 when county officials wanted to have a strong voice in the nation's capital. More than six decades later, NACo continues to ensure that the nation's 3066 counties are heard and understood in the White House and the halls of Congress.

    NACo's membership totals over 1,800 counties, representing over 75 percent of the nation's population.

    The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

    * Gross Metropolitan Product is a concept analogous to Gross Domestic Product, the commonly accepted measure nations use to calculate the total annual value of goods and services they have produced.

    Jubi Headley/USCM
    (202) 861-6766 direct
    (202) 744-9337 cell
    Tom Goodman/NACo
    (202) 942-4222