Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 1.46.35 PMIs there anything worse than a braggart?

That’s at least one way to appreciate Louisville’s latest ranking among competitor cities on key economic indicators. This one, courtesy of MarketWatch, plants River City at a firm No. 51 among the nation’s 100 most populous cities for our friendliness to business.

When Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted a link to the study earlier today, he included an exclamation point. Half-full, right?

The folks at MarketWatch gathered 23 data points in three general categories: business climate, company performance and economic outcome. For business climate, they used federal government data on population growth and number of working adults, level of education, and number of patents. They also used data from Moody’s on business costs and risk, as well as an area’s commercial vitality.

The company performance category measured — you guessed it — how the publicly traded companies in each city performed on the NYSE and Nasdaq. And the economic outcome category included statistics on GDP improvement, growth in personal income, joblessness and other similar factors. (For the full methodology, click here.)

A similar MarketWatch study that looked at these data points in 2013 ranked Louisville No. 28 of 100, which is, well, yikes. But don’t lose hope entirely: Year over year, according to this study, our business climate has improved dramatically, jumping from a score of 339 for 2013 to 457 for last year. That’s naturally where a lot of government, civic and other nonprofit efforts tend to focus — increasing educational attainment, providing more incentives to entice businesses to locate and grow here.

But Louisville’s score for public companies dropped rather dramatically from 2013 to 2014, as did its economic outcome score. The latter is particularly distressing, especially when you consider how our peer cities performed.

Here’s a list of where each of Louisville’s peer cities — as determined by the Louisville Downtown Partnership’s 2015 State of the Downtown presentation on the local economy — ranked in this year’s MarketWatch study:

9. Oklahoma City, Okla.

16. Omaha, Neb.

17. Nashville, Tenn.

19. Tulsa, Okla.

20. Charlotte, N.C.

23. Kansas City, Mo.

24. Grand Rapids, Mich.

25. Cincinnati, Ohio

26. Indianapolis, Ind.

27. Pittsburgh, Pa.

34. Columbus, Ohio

36. Greensboro, N.C.

41. St. Louis, Mo.

51. Louisville 

68. Greenville, S.C.

75. Birmingham, Ala.

88. Memphis, Tenn.

90. Knoxville, Tenn.

Stephen George is news editor of Insider Louisville. He is a former editor of LEO Weekly and the Nashville City Paper, and a former news editor of the Nashville Scene. He has written for various other news and culture publications and is happy to be back in Louisville.


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