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The 2019-20 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, explained 📊

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2019-20 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report cover | Image via EngenuitySC

Table of Contents

EngenuitySC released its newest Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report yesterday: an in-depth document that highlights areas in which Columbia is thriving + where it has room to improve in comparison to similar Southeastern cities. The goal: To help Cola be the best city it can be, a.k.a. an awesome place to visit, live, learn, work + play.

What is it measuring? 📈

The report considers these 5 Indicators of Competitive Communities:


    1. Talent | Is Cola attracting + retaining a smart, skilled workforce?
    2. Entrepreneurial + Business Environment | Is it easy to do business here? Are startups supported + fostered?
    3. Innovative Capacity | How does Cola support and develop new technology + products?
    4. Industry Clusters | What industries bring in jobs?
    5. Livability | Is Cola a dynamic live, learn, work + play environment?

Who are we being compared to? 📈

9 Southeastern cities with a similar MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) to oursmeaning they have comparable populations + economic landscapes as well as factors like major universities + similar technological strengths to ours. So places like Knoxville, Tallahassee, Winston-Salem + Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin. According to the report – the “aspirational MSA” we strive to be like is Raleigh, N.C. (Oh hey, RALtoday.)

What do the scores mean? 📈

The number for each indicator (like Entrepreneurial + Business Environment: 116) shows how each MSA compares to the national average. So an index of 116 = 16% better than the U.S. average.

Where does Columbia stand this year? 📈

Here are a few highlights of the 2019-20 Competitiveness Report + what they mean:

👍 We maintained or increased our rankings in 4 out of 5 indicators since last year’s rankings. We decreased in just 1 area – talent.

💼 Since the 2017 report, we’ve seen substantial increases in the proportion of business services employment (i.e. accounting, legal, etc.) an indicator of a healthy business environment.

🎨 We’re ranked third for the Livability factor of vitality, defined as the percentage of the population aged 15-44 years old. Lookin’ youthful, Cola.

🏆 The most-improved award goes to Entrepreneurial + Business Environment, the indicator that has most steadily improved since these reports started in 2014. This means Columbia is a great city to start a new business venture in.

🎓 UofSC is producing a significant talent pool. The Darla Moore School of Business’s most recent graduating class was its largest (1086 undergrads); had its highest job placement rate (84%); and received the highest average starting salaries to date ($57,837). Go Cocks.

Interested in digging into the data yourself? See the full report on Engenuity SC’s website.

And JFYI, the release of the 2019-20 Competitiveness Report is part of a full week of celebrating our region’s successes. See the full lineup of events for Competitiveness Week 2020, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina – happening now through Friday, Jan. 31. 🎉

What do you think about these findings? Agree/disagree? Let us know in a comment below.

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