The Daphne-Fairhope-Foley Metro Area placed 26th among the most dynamic 375 metropolitan areas in the U.S. in a recent report ranking top-performing cities based on economic performance by Heartland Forward. The rankings draw upon both pre-pandemic data and recent job momentum data to assess each metropolitan’s economic performance before and during the pandemic. Cities with vibrant tech, tourism and oil & gas industries performed best.

The Daphne-Fairhope-Foley area earned the U.S. Census Bureau distinction of being Baldwin County’s metropolitan statistical area in 2012 when its population surpassed 50,000. It is one of the fastest growing metros in the United States.

“We are so pleased to see that our Daphne-Fairhope-Foley Metro Area ranked as 26th among the most dynamic metropolitans in the U.S. out of 375,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. “This is no surprise to us, as it is an amazing place to live, work and play. It is industries like Collins Aerospace that have brought both great jobs and diversification of industry. We are so proud they produced the first A220 aircraft in this facility and delivered it to Delta Airlines this fall, prevailing despite it being a year of such uncertainty. Resilience is what makes us Alabama!”

“This research offers insight into how our country’s cities, which account for more than 88% of America’s GDP, can position themselves for economic success,” said Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward. “To help navigate the road to recovery from the pandemic, policymakers in regions across the country can use our report to better understand their communities and adapt their neighbors’ strategies to their own needs. Heartland cities—even those that didn’t make the top 30—are well-positioned to turn the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity to thrive post-pandemic.”

Heartland Forward constructed an index to rank the metropolitan areas, including metrics such as job growth, job momentum, average annual earnings, GDP gains, total jobs at new businesses and employee educational attainment. The metrics capture both short- and long-term trends, with data on job momentum through this past August and data on employee educational attainment from 2017. Heartland Forward draws data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census Bureau, and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Heartland Forward’s mission is to improve economic performance in the center of the United States by advocating for fact-based solutions to foster job creation, knowledge-based and inclusive growth and improved health outcomes. We conduct independent, data-driven research to facilitate action-oriented discussion and impactful policy recommendations.