In Forbes’ 2012 rankings of “The Best Small Places for Business and Careers,” Auburn was ranked no. 17 out of 100 in the country.
While numerous college towns litter the rankings, Auburn is one of only two Southeastern Conference college towns in the top 25, coming in 11 spots behind College Station, Texas.
Athens, Ga. and Tuscaloosa are the only other two SEC college towns on the list being ranked nos. 36 and 58, respectively.
Florence also made the list as the only other selection from Alabama, barely making the cut at no. 100.
Factors in the rankings include education, job growth and cost of doing business for all cities under 245,000 people, as specified by Forbes.
Auburn has already made headlines this past year for having the third lowest unemployment rate in the state and a variety of large company recruitments, such as Seung Chang Airtek, GE Aviation and SiO2.
Phillip Dunlap, economic development director for the city of Auburn, said this ranking is just further establishment of what the city’s community members already believe.
“It’s reinforced the fact that we’re creating jobs here. We’re diversifying the economy and creating opportunities within Auburn,” Dunlap said.
This is not the first time Auburn has appeared on this list, according to Dunlap. However, the continued recognition from such an influential media company means that the University has not only attained a high level of economic success, but maintained it as well.
With only three Alabamian cities being ranked in the top 100 and Auburn leading the group by a large margin, Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said the city’s location, public education system, collaboration with the University and overall quality of life give Auburn an edge.
“It points to quality of life,” Ham said. “(Auburn) is a great place to raise a family and a great place to start a business.”
Business partners collaborating with the city feel the same way, according to Dunlap.
“The business partners we work with are very satisfied working with us and the relationships here, so we think it’s a good place for investment, a good place to do business, and it’s a great opportunity for people to find a good job,” Dunlap said.
Besides creating jobs, Ham said Auburn’s ability to be a hub of both small and large business activity results in not just jobs, but diverse, long-lasting jobs.
“Small business is the lifeblood of our country ... and we’re making efforts everyday to reach out and encourage and foster small business as well as large business, because I don’t think you can have one without the other,” Ham said.
While making the list is in itself an enormous accomplishment, Auburn’s inclusion as the top city in Alabama and one of only three southern cities in the top 25 shows Auburn’s dedication to its community.
“We’re excited as always to be recognized, and we’re very pleased that we’re a leader in the state and a leader in the southeast,” Dunlap said. “I think we’re doing extremely well versus anybody."