Middle Market: Economic Clout

By Geri Stengel

There is a reciprocal relationship between middle market firms (businesses generating between $10 million and $1 billion in revenues) and the metropolitan areas in which they operate, as uncovered by the Middle Market Power Index: Best U.S. Metropolitan Areas for Middle Market Firms from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet. Metro areas provide infrastructure and talent that attracts companies, and employees are drawn to certain metro areas by their perceived culture, quality of life and opportunities. At the same time, middle market companies offer a critical foundation for metro areas looking to maintain or strengthen their economy.

“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, which provides solutions for travel and everyday business spending, cross-border payments, global currency solutions and business financing. “When metro areas have a strong middle market presence they are able to rebuild faster, stay more competitive, and provide for a dynamic local economy.”

Where Middle Market Firms Shine Brightest

While large cities and their surrounding areas have diverse talent pools, university hubs and the capacity to attract people from other states and countries, smaller metro areas also have a crucial characteristic that is generally not shared by their larger counterparts — affordability. This plays a role in these cities’ high rankings for metrics such as middle market dominance, economic clout, employment vitality, and minority-owned/women-owned businesses.

“The metro areas with the strongest middle market presence are in many cases not the most obvious,” says Nalanda Matia, senior director of the econometrics practice at Dun & Bradstreet. “It’s no surprise that New York leads the nation in many of the metrics we analyzed related to sheer numbers, but it was interesting to see how well geographies such as St. Louis and San Diego performed in middle market dominance. This can provide important guidance for similar markets as they evolve in the months and years ahead.”

Middle market firms are key to a resilient economy. These firms have a natural advantage: They are substantial enough to have the human and capital resources needed to withstand hard times (averaging 293 employees and generating $51.6 million in revenues), yet small, agile and nimble enough to take advantage of new opportunities.

Middle Market Stats for Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale

Number of MMFs: 1,987
Average number of employees/firm: 267
Average revenues/firm: $49,752,353
Revenue per employee: $186,001

Top 20 Metropolitan Area Rankings By:

Number of Firms Employment Revenue
1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
(20,153,634 population)
1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
3. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 4. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
5. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
5. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MDWV 5. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VAMD-WV
6. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJDE-MD
7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
8. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
8. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DEMD 8. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
10. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
10. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 10. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
13. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
16. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 15. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 

Source: Middle Market Power Index


Geri Stengel is an American Express OPEN research advisor.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.

Dun & Bradstreet, supplies data, insights and analytics to connect prospects, suppliers, clients and partners.

To read the full Middle Market Power Index, visit http://amex.co/mmpi

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