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  November 3rd, 2014 | Written by

Global Vibe

Atlanta, Georgia

Population: 447,841
Unemployment: 8.00%
Fortune 500 Companies:11
The third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., headed by the likes of Coca-Cola and UPS, are assisted by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest. Atlanta has also become a media hub, home to CNN, Tyler Perry Studios and Williams Street Productions of Adult Swim fame. So many horror productions involving the undead are shot there locals proudly call Atlanta “Zombie Capital of the World.” So there’s that.

 Cambridge, Massachusetts

Population: 106,471
Unemployment: 4.10%
Fortune 500 Companies: 1
Home to only one Fortune 500 company, Cambridge—location of both Harvard and MIT—is the place that produces people who start those companies or create the conditions and/or technology that allows them to thrive. It’s a one-stop shop of ideas and innovation; consider this staggering bit of information: Of the 780 people to be awarded a Nobel Prize, at least 129 of them either lived, worked or were educated in Cambridge.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Population: 792,862
Unemployment: 6.00%
Fortune 500 Companies: 5
You might be surprised that the Queen City—the nickname having nothing to do with Freddie Mercury but, rather, an 18th century British queen consort—is now the second-largest banking center in the U.S., ranking behind only New York. Bank of America is one of five Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Charlotte itself, with a total of eight such companies located in Charlotte’s metropolitan area.

Chicago, Illinois

Population: 2,718,782
Unemployment: 6.80%
Fortune 500 Companies: 8
Fittingly, the Second City’s O’Hare International Airport is the second-busiest in the world, bringing many of the more than 46 million international and domestic visitors in 2012, a city record. Chicago is listed as an “alpha global city” and ranks seventh as a global city by Foreign Policy for being an “interconnected [city that] helps set global agendas, weather transnational dangers and serves as the hubs of global integration.”

Cleveland, Ohio

Population: 396,815
Unemployment: 6.90%
Fortune 500 Companies: 5
Often depicted as municipal poster child for the Rust Belt, Cleveland is home to the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra as well as one of the world’s great hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic (the Global Center for Health Innovation opened recently with 235,000 square feet of display space for global healthcare companies). Case Western Reserve University is a world-class research/teaching institute which has given the world Gmail, Norton AntiVirus and a golden oldie called Dow Chemical.

El Paso, Texas

Population: 674,433
Unemployment: 7.00%
Fortune 500 Companies: 1
Although only one Fortune 500 company—Western Refining—is headquartered in El Paso, more than 70 have offices there, including AT&T, Raytheon and Boeing. Located on the Mexican border, El Paso is a major cog in the U.S.-Mexico-Central America economic engine. In fact, Hispanic Business Magazine included 28 El Paso companies on its list of the 500 largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., ranking only behind Miami’s 57.

Irvine, California

Population: 242,651
Unemployment: 4.30%
Fortune 500 Companies: 4
Nearly half of America’s Suburb’s population identifies as something other than Caucasian. Irvine is home to UC Irvine, considered a “Public Ivy”—think Cal, Michigan and University of Virginia—as well as such global biz biggies as Allergan, Broadcom and Western Digital (not to mention In-N-Out Burger; they’re not global but their burgers are out of this world!). And if money is the international language, well, Irvine had the seventh-highest median income among U.S. cities.

Oakland, California

Population: 390,724
Unemployment: 9.90%
Fortune 500 Companies: 1
The Port of Oakland, fifth-busiest in the U.S., handles 99 percent of all containerized goods moving through Northern California, $41 billion worth of international trade. Clorox is presently the only Fortune 500 company to call the city home, but Oakland is corporate headquarters to companies whose services are critical (Kaiser Permanente), delicious (Dreyers ice cream) and fabulous (Cost Plus World Markets). The city ranks fifth for tech entrepreneurs in venture capital investment.

Tacoma, Washington

Population: 198,397
Unemployment: 6.20%
Fortune 1,000 Companies: 0
Over the past 10 years, Washington’s third-largest city has been high on a lot of disparate lists ranging from one of the U.S.’s most livable to its most stressed-out and most walkable. Even more importantly, Tacoma ranks in the top 10 of North America’s largest container ports, handling about 13 million tons of cargo, representing more than $25 billion worth of commerce. The port’s largest trade partner is China/Hong Kong.

Tampa, Florida

Population: 335,709
Unemployment: 6.20%
Fortune 1,000 Companies: 3
Tampa is home not only to Florida’s largest port but also to an impressive array of foreign-owned businesses. In fact, nearly 500 local companies based in Tampa are the result of investments by folks from 41 different nations. Tampa is home to Foreign Trade Zone No. 79 while Tampa International Airport has won awards for its design, architecture and innovation; it’s been ranked as one of the nation’s best by CNNGo.

-Steve Lowery

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