Lexington ranks 6th for best mid-sized metro to launch a small business


Editors note: Lexington has ranked sixth for best mid-sized metro area to launch a small business according to CNNMoney.com's 2009 report. The annual report ranks large, mid and small metro areas based on economic growth, affordable workers and few forclosures. All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see CNNMoney.com's "How we picked the Best Places."

 

By Maya Payne Smart, CNNMoney.com, Best Places to Launch: The best metro areas for small business startups

 

LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 14, 2009) − Lexington puts a unique spin on 4-H: Horses, health care, high-tech and higher education make up its diversified economy.

 

Known as the Thoroughbred Capital of the World, Lexington is home to horse farms that handle more than $750 million in horse sales annually. The region is expected to reap another $150 million in economic activity when hundreds of thousands of visitors come to town for the 2010 World Equestrian Games in September 2010. The city's revitalization efforts have reached warp speed in preparation for the event: New music venues and restaurants are sprouting, along with fresh parks and biking and walking trails.

 

Even in the absence of major events, Lexington knows how to draw a crowd. Residents throughout the eastern third of Kentucky travel miles to reach its retail stores and three major hospitals, all of which have begun major expansion projects.

 

The University of Kentucky, Transylvania University and another dozen colleges, universities and technical colleges educate workers for Lexington's growing tech sector, which includes strong Lexmark, IBM and Hewlett-Packard presences.

 

Local businesspeople say the municipal government is undergoing a vast restructuring to eliminate redundancies and improve communication, which promises an even more welcoming environment for business owners.

 

Lexington Business Statistics

Business Climate

City Stats

Best Places Average

Employer establishments with 1-49 employees (2007)

11,248

27,126.98

Small business growth rate (2004-2007)

4.1%

5.92%

State business tax climate ranking (out of 50 states)

34

n/a

Percentage of population with bachelor’s degree (ages 25-34)

37.3%

33.48%

Violent crime (rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)

468.7

393.34

Property crime (rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)

3,247.6

3,158.51

 

Demand

City Stats

Best Places Average

Population growth (2003-2008)

7.4%

7.84%

Per-capita income (2007)

$37,253

$36,545.24

Per-capita income growth (2002-2007)

21.8%

27.66%

GDP in millions (2006)

$21,238

59,299.44

GDP growth (2001-2006)

26%

38.97%

 

Costs

City Stats

Best Places Average

Average hourly wage (2008)

$18.551

$18.35

Housing foreclosure rate (first half of 2009, 1 per every x housing units)

516

1,070.14

Median rent (2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)

$719

$778.80

Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio (first quarter of 2009)

1.8%

1.70%

Long-term HPI ratio (20 year average, 1984-2004)

1.7%

1.65%

HPI deviation from long-term average

6%

1.47%