Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last Eight Months: Atlanta 3, Ohio 0

Atlanta is crowing about poaching business from Ohio. If you can ignore the chest-thumping, then the article is worth a read. The relocation geography is interesting:

In all, 43 Midwestern companies have established headquarters, warehouses, distribution centers, factories, branch offices or testing labs across the region since 1999, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ohio alone has shipped 20 of those companies or their units down Interstate 75. Only three other states -- California, Florida and Texas -- have been more generous toward Atlanta. ...

... The state’s economic development department, for example, runs business-recruitment offices in Pennsylvania and California but not Ohio. Gant and Ken Stewart, the state’s economic development commissioner, travel extensively. Stewart, reluctantly, acknowledged he has visited Ohio “a few times” since becoming commissioner in January 2007.

Georgia probably doesn't need an office in Ohio. The pipeline to Greater Atlanta is active enough. If anything, the story helps to debunk the Rust Belt-to-Sun Belt mythology. Businesses coming from California, Florida and Texas by far outweigh those from the entire Midwest. But the draining of Ohio garners all the headlines.

When businesses leave Georgia, where do they go? I'd guess that there is a lot of churn within the Sun Belt. There is probably a lot of movement within the Rust Belt. Companies can and do move from south to north. Those exceptions deserve some publicity just from the standpoint of understanding why such a migration occurs.

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