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  September 27th, 2016 | Written by

Top cities for global trade

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Population: 98,469 | Unemployment: 3.9 percent | Leading Industries: Healthcare, Technology

Albany’s Tech Valley has become something of a magnet for top talent. Started in 1998 as a way to promote Albany as a high-tech alternative to Silicon Valley and Boston, Tech Valley really took off in 2002 when SEMATECH decided to relocate its headquarters in the city. Others have followed, includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which donated $400,000 to local Tech Valley High School. Tech Valley has grown to include the Hudson Valley and the jobs it has generated made up for losses in the government sector.

Population: 621,849 | Unemployment: 4.7 percent | Leading Industries: Healthcare, Bioscience

Once a proud industrial town, from 1960 to 2000 Baltimore experienced six straight census reports of negative population growth. But things seem to be changing as the city that was once all about processing and manufacturing has now gotten into the high-toned arenas of high tech and bioscience. Forbes ranked it in the top four “tech hot spots,” which coincides with the fact that there’s been a 40 percent jump in Baltimore’s college-educated population since 2000. Also, 2015 actually saw the city gain residents. Yeah, it was just 1,000 people, but it’s a start.

Population: 21,420 | Unemployment: 3.4 percent | Leading Industries: Education, Technology

Nearly 50 percent of Erie’s residents are age 34 or younger and more than 50 percent have a college degree. It enjoys easy access to such economic hubs as Boulder (15 miles away) and Denver (27 miles) and has been growing at an impressive pace since 2000, when the population was 1,258 to 23,000 today. Growth has slowed only relatively during that period, with estimates the city will have well over 30,000 residents by 2025.

Population: 33,742 | Unemployment: 3.7 percent | Leading Industries: Furniture, Transportation

The city of Holland is relatively small—then again, so is the country—but its inhabitants have shown range in helping local businesses flourish, whether it’s homegrown furniture giants Herman Miller and Haworth or South Korean electric car battery maker LG Chem Michigan. Companies new and old benefit from a tight-knit Holland community that has the second-highest number of engineers per capita in the nation. Workers figure to stick around since Holland is charming, hosts an annual tulip festival and has the only authentic working Dutch windmill in the United States.

Population: 277,348 | Unemployment: 3.1 percent | Leading Industries: Healthcare, Technology

It’s hard to overstate the influential role hometown University of Nebraska (Go Huskers!) plays in every aspect of daily Lincoln life. Not only does it imbue the city with an international vibrancy, it provides a steady stream of highly educated young people (i.e. talent pool) along with research facilities that support private business. The city also has the advantages of being the state capital, sitting just 50 miles southwest of Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city, and offering both employer and employee the benefits of a low cost of living and doing business.

Population: 59,067 | Unemployment: 5.3 percent | Leading Industries: Aerospace, Healthcare

The metro area that surrounds Atlanta has been fast growing and fast moving so that cities in the region need to offer talent that’s able to keep up. Marietta, located just 20 miles from Atlanta, has a smart population/workforce with more than 35 percent holding at least a bachelor’s degree. What’s more, well over a third of its residents are age 25 or younger, making for a highly energetic, highly trainable populace which, given the city’s low costs of living and doing business, figures to keep workers around.

Population: 655,770 | Unemployment: 5.7 percent | Leading Industries: Logistics, Banking/Finance

If you’re in some kind of business involved in moving things, Memphis may be the best place for you to find the best people. Yes, it’s home to FedEx and home to the busiest cargo airport in the world, but it’s also home to other logistical heavyweights such as CEVA, Coyote Logistics, XPO Logistics—and the list truly goes on. Those companies bring an experienced and trained logistical talent pool that has given Memphis the unofficial title as “America’s Distribution Center.”

Population: 631,346 | Unemployment: 4.7 percent | Leading Industries: Energy, Technology

For a company looking for good value from a talent pool, OKC is one of the best bargains in the country to find twentysomethings to grow with their outfits. Young, smart professionals have been flocking to the city—it’s grown by more than 125,000 people since 2000—attracted by a low cost of living, low housing costs and healthy job growth; its young-professional employment rates rank in the top 15 percent of all U.S. cities.

Population: 451,066 | Unemployment: 4.4 percent | Leading Industries: Banking/Financial Services, Biotech

Between 2000 and 2014, no other city in the country had more job growth related to STEM skills than Raleigh, where tech-related jobs grew a whopping 62 percent. Part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Raleigh contributes to and benefits from a host of top-notch universities including Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Now, after a report last year said that another quarter million STEM jobs will be available in the state, Raleigh schoolchildren—and eventually their employers—will benefit from a new STEMAccelerator program.

Population: 684,451 | Unemployment: 4.4 percent | Leading Industries: Aerospace, Technology

Consistently ranked as a top talent pool for STEM workers, Seattle’s booming tech sector is driving a population boom; the city’s added more than 120,000 residents since 2000. Talent is not only available to such tech titans as Microsoft and Amazon but myriad startups as the region has emerged as a leader in cloud computing and data visualization. Oh, and if you’re into building planes, they do that also. In fact, Seattle’s massive aerospace industry employs 17 percent of all U.S. aerospace workers.