Unemployment: 6.1 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: O’Hare International Airport
Six of the seven Class I railroads meet there, helping make Chicago the largest hub in the railroad industry. They work in concert with the Port of Chicago to make it the third largest intermodal port in the world. After relinquishing the title of world’s overall busiest airport for eight years to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, Chicago’s O’Hare once again regained the title and is sixth in the U.S. in total amount of cargo moved.
Unemployment: 5.6 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Port of Jacksonville, I-10, I-95, I-295
Florida’s largest city is headquarters for transport giants Landstar, Crowley and CSX. While the Port of Jacksonville gets a lot of attention given that it is one of the largest cargo operations on the Atlantic, Jacksonville also benefits from more than 200 trucking lines that serve customers in and around the city—35 million consumers are available within an eight-hour drive. Recognizing the importance of this, The Better Jacksonville Plan has earmarked $1.5 billion for road and infrastructure improvements.
LOS ANGELES, California
Unemployment: 7.5 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Port of Los Angeles
The rise of Asia’s economies can be tracked by the ascension of the Port of Los Angeles to become the busiest in the country by container volume. Its top five trading partners in 2013 were all located in Asia and it did more than $175 billion of trade with China and Japan. LAX is the nation’s fifth-busiest cargo airport, and another five commercial airports are located in the L.A. metro area.
Unemployment: 7.0 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Memphis International Airport
The unquestioned pound-for-pound logistical infrastructure champ, more than $184 billion of domestic and international goods cycle through Memphis annually. While Memphis International gets a lot of attention, being the largest cargo airport in the world and headquarters for FedEx’s global operations, Memphis is also home to the fourth-largest inland port in the nation. A key railroad hub, home to five Class-I railroads, it’s also a trucking center at the crossroads of I-40 and I-55.
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, Minnesota
Unemployment: 3.7 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: I-35, I-94
It’s a testament to how well goods are moved from the area that the Twin Cities is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies. That probably has a lot to do with how many major trucking and railroad outfits call the region home as well. As you’d expect, the largest chunk of that is going to Canada at $5.8 billion, but China is not that far behind at $3.5 billion. Major railroads include BNSF, Union Pacific, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana
Unemployment: 6.4 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Port of New Orleans
In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, the Port of New Orleans has received major capital investments ($296 million) for renovations and upgrades that have paid off big. The city recorded its fifth consecutive year of increased goods exported, helped by the fact the port is the only deep water one served by six Class-I railroads. New Orleans has a geographically balanced menu of trade partners, some of its largest being China, Mexico, France, Colombia and the Netherlands.
NEW YORK, New York
Unemployment: 5.6 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Port of New York and New Jersey
With natural advantages of deep water channels and protection from the Atlantic, the Port of New York and New Jersey has historically been one of the most important in the U.S. Currently, it is the third-busiest port in the country in cargo volume and figures to at least maintain that rank given a commitment of more than $4 billion by the Port Authority that will ensure it is able to handle projected future volumes from increasingly larger vessels.
Unemployment: 7.4 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia has always had a lot of logistical advantages, whether it’s access to the New Jersey Turnpike or the many warehouses/distribution centers located near the Port of Philadelphia. But city and business officials have, over the past few years, been aggressive about improving infrastructure with programs such as the Capacity Enhancement Program at Philadelphia International Airport or Norfolk Southern expanding its ability to handle more containers and establish a high-speed freight rail route between the Northeast and Gulf Coast.
Unemployment: 6.1 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Port of Savannah
The Port of Savannah is home to the largest single-terminal container facility in the nation, and its deep-water terminals boast a global carrier network, fast-to-market service record and just recorded a record 3.66 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units, i.e. shipping containers) moved, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. The city is also connected, through major interstates I-16 and I-95, to the most extensive surface transportation network in the U.S., giving truckers access to the entire East Coast.
ST. LOUIS, Missouri
Unemployment: 5.7 percent
Key Transportation Infrastructure: Terminal Railroad Assn. of St. Louis
St. Louis is the nation’s third-largest freight rail hub with service provided on tracks owned by the likes of railroad heavyweights Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern and BNSF. They are among the companies that own the Terminal Railroad Assn (TRRA), a switching and terminal railroad that operates 30 diesel-electric locomotives to move railcars around yards. The Port of St. Louis is the second-largest inland port by trip-ton miles, handling more than 32 million tons of freight annually.
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