Thursday, June 20, 2024

Kendall Square’s high-tech startups have always been an engine for jobs in Cambridge, which is 25th place on Forbes’ list of “The Best Places For Business And Careers.” (Photo: Imelda)

Maybe Cambridge landing in 25th place on Forbes’ list of “The Best Places For Business And Careers” doesn’t seem all that great, but consider two things: The business magazine rates 200 metro areas for the list; and not many New England neighbors made it on.

“You won’t find many of these areas on the two coasts,” Forbes staffer Kurt Badenhousen wrote in an introduction to the rankings. “Cities in California and New England are saddled with high business costs and heavy regulatory burdens. States in the heartland, like Utah, Texas, Nebraska and Colorado, have the best business climates right now.”

In fact, the 14th annual list leads off with Provo, Utah, thanks mainly for a reason Cambridge, with its Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Lesley University will understand: Provo’s Brigham Young University, which is called “a stabilizing presence as the third-largest private college by enrollment in the U.S.” and a generator of jobs that two years ago ranked third in the numbers of startups produced through university research.

While Brigham Young had 13, MIT’s 17 startups still weren’t the top. The University of Utah beat the institute with its 18.

Still, the schools “fuel the area’s high-tech employment, which at 17.7 percent is second-highest in the U.S., after San Jose, Calif.,” the rankings show, as well as the fact “Cambridge is one of only four metros where 50 percent of adults have a college degree.”

Educational attainment in Cambridge is actually far more impressive than that. From the city’s Community Development Department:

According to the 2008-10 American Community Survey data on the level of education, 73.1 percent of the population over 25 has either a four-year bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree, 10.7 percent has either an associate degree or some college coursework, 10.3 percent has a high school diploma and 5.8 percent does not have a high school diploma.

The Provo metro area beats Cambridge in job growth, since it was 3 percent there last year, third best in the U.S. Cambridge’s job growth was cited by the magazine at a relatively pokey 1.6 percent — but then as of May, unemployment in Cambridge stood at only 3.6 percent. In the same month, Provo’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

The list is heavy with cities in states such as Texas, North Carolina and even Oklahoma and Nevada. Cambridge is the only city in the Northeast to make it into the top 25.

The list was posted by Forbes in late June. Thanks to Curbed for pointing it out Monday.