Study Finds Detroit Ranks Among Best and Worst of Country’s Middle Market Firms


The Middle Market Power Index: Best U.S. Metropolitan Areas for Middle Market Firms from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet was released Feb. 8 with Detroit ranking very low in some categories and very high in others.

The Middle Market Power Index series began in 2015 and analyzes the characteristics and economic impact of middle market enterprises – businesses generating between $10 million and $1 billion in annual revenue.

This report is the eighth in the series and explores why certain metro areas are more conducive to middle market firms than others. It measures the condition of metro areas’ middle market sectors by looking at the number of middle market firms, their overall number of employees, their overall revenue generated, the average number of employees per firm, average revenue per firm, and revenue per employee.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn area is listed among the five lowest ranking metropolitan areas for productivity, bringing in $137,454 average revenue per employee. The other four areas are Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida; San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida; and Baltimore-Columbia Townson, Maryland. Productivity, in this study, is measured by the amount of goods and services a worker produces.

Detroit also ranked low (20th) for minority-owned business and somewhat low (11th) for woman-owned businesses.

Detroit ranks first in middle market dominance, which is a combined ranking of a city’s individual rankings for share of middle market firms, total employment, and total revenue. The city also ranks third in economic clout, which is a ranking based on the combined growth rate from 2009-2017 in terms of the number of firms and growth in employment and revenues, and third in employment vitality, which is an analysis of a metro area’s employment growth rate from 2009-2017 and the average number of employees.

“We hypothesized that there is an important relationship between middle market firms and the metro areas in which they operate, but the findings from this report really show how close and interdependent that relationship is,” says Brendan Walsh, executive vice president of American Express Global Commercial Payments. “When metro areas have a strong middle market presence and those firms are highly productive, they are able to rebuild faster, stay more competitive, and provide for a dynamic local economy.”

This report is based on an analysis of all of the U.S. firms in Dun & Bradstreet’s commercial databases between March 2011 and March 2017.

Dun & Bradstreet is a data analysis company.

Find the full report here.

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