Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
New York Is World's Most Competitive City: Report
Monday, March 12, 2012 - 03:13 PM
New York is the most competitive city in the world, according to a new index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The EIU, a business within The Economist Group, defined "competitiveness" broadly as the ability to attract capital, businesses, talent and visitors.
New York ranked ahead of established global centers including London (No. 2), Singapore (No. 3), Hong Kong (No. 4) and Paris (also No. 4) and rapidly growing cities in the emerging markets, such as Shenzhen (No. 52) and Mumbai (No. 70).
"New York in particular does well because it does well across a range of areas," said Leo Abruzzese, the EIU's global forecasting director. "It has finance, yes, but it also has media and arts and fashion and technology."
The study was commissioned by Citigroup, which has approximately 24,000 employees in New York City and is headquartered in Manhattan.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, appearing with Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit at the Council on Foreign Relations Monday, reminded a room of journalists that New York had many doubters after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
"Many experts were predicting not only that New York City was on decline and its best days were behind it," he said, "Because of 9/11 there would be people fleeing from the city. Companies would choose to locate elsewhere."
But that didn't happen. In fact, the EIU did not include vulnerability to attack among the dozens of measures it used to evaluate cities' competitiveness. Among the dozens of factors used to rank cities were quality of healthcare, taxation, per capita GDP, frequency of international flights, ease of hiring foreign nationals and risk of natural disasters.
Metropolitan areas, rather than municipal boundaries were considered, meaning "New York" also includes outlying areas such as northern Jersey City and Long Island.
Economic inequality was not considered as a factor. Asked about the possibility that New York's Occupy movement could re-start protests in the summer, targeting Citigroup among other banks, Pandit said "the banks over the last few years have not done a great job of keeping that trust with its customers and we need to do a lot better at that. That's the message for me."
While cities in the developing world rank relatively lower on the overall index, they dominate the rankings of economic strength, reflecting their rapid growth as centers of trade (New York is No. 4, after three Chinese cities: Tianjin, Shenzhen and Dalian).
Bloomberg conceded that in time it is likely New York will be overtaken by some of these cities.
And he spotlighted other challenges to New York's dominance, including the scarcity of land and constraints on transportation.
"It's hard to see the next runway that's going to be built at LaGuardia, Kennedy or Newark," Bloomberg said.