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Proving It

     First a few statistics:
      The June 2004 Federal Reserve Beige Book named seven cities with the strongest labor markets in the country. Four were in the Midwest, and two -- Minneapolis and
Combined HQ and R&D Projects
January 2003 to June 2004
Chicago -- were in the Upper Midwest.
      One of many reasons behind that strength was evident in another June 2004 release from the U.S. Census Bureau, measuring educational attainment levels in the population for 2003. When percent of high school graduates among the 25-and-older population was counted, four of the five states above were in the upper half, with Minnesota, at 92 percent, trailing only New Hampshire at the very top (Illinois came in at No. 32). It's no coincidence that an August 2004 report from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater found Minneapolis, judged by several combined criteria, to be the "most literate" city in the U.S.
      And even though the city of Detroit led big cities in population loss over the past few years, they aren't all moving to the South as some demographers suggest. Some just move to booming 'burbs in the same metro area.
      A look at HQ and R&D facilities in these Upper Midwest states, compiled in Conway Data's New Plant Database since the beginning of 2003, reveals some impressive numbers in these prized project categories:
      That's 148 projects in all, which works out to 23 percent of all U.S. HQ and R&D projects recorded in the database during that period, planted in just 10 percent of the states. That heady blend of leadership and brainpower may be the best indicator of corporate quality of life.
      The power of R&D has never been more evident. In a speech in June 2004 at the National Economic Development Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and The Council on Competitiveness, Richard Pearson, president and CEO of The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), painted the picture this way:
      "Manufacturing drives the economy and is the main source of productivity growth," he said. "We need to invest in technology and innovation to protect this crucial national asset. Research and development is the key to ensuring the prosperity of the United States. Innovation resulting from collaboration between industry, government and academia is the 21st-century way toward achieving our national goals."
      NCMS -- the only consortial effort in the U.S. devoted exclusively to manufacturing technologies, processes and practices -- was organized 20 years ago under the National Cooperative Research Act. Besides counting among its members industrial, education and economic development leaders from across the nation, NCMS also is deeply enmeshed in the promotion of science and engineering education at the elementary and secondary levels.
      So where does NCMS choose to call home? One of the primary lobes of Upper Midwest brainpower: Ann Arbor, Mich.

©2004 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. SiteNet data is from many sources and not warranted to be accurate or current.