Elizabethtown Metropolitan Statistical Area Continues to Receive National Acclaim with New Economic Growth Rankings

MSA Ranked 5th Out of the Top 20 Southern Cities for Economic and Job Growth; Counties’ Cities Show Continued Population Growth

Elizabethtown, Kentucky (June 29, 2012) – Hardin County United (HCU) today praised the findings of a national survey which was recently conducted by Area Development magazine, one of the nation’s most respected industrial site selection and economic development publications. Area Development has ranked all 365 U.S. metros in terms of economic and job growth for 2012.  Here is how the Elizabethtown MSA (which includes all of Hardin and Larue counties) fared in various categories:

  • Ranked 5th out of the Top 20 Southern Cities for economic and job growth (Lafayette, LA was first; Tuscaloosa, AL was 20th)
  • Ranked 7th out of the Top 25 Small Cities for “Recession Busting” Factors (Bismarck, ND was first; Battle Creek, MI was 25th)
  • Ranked 9th out of the Top 25 Small Cities for Prime Workforce Growth (Ithaca, NY was first; Alexandria, LA was 25th)
  • Ranked 17th out of the Top 50 Small Cities for economic and job growth (Columbus, IN was first; Hattiesburg, MS was 50th)
  • Ranked 21st out of the Top 25 Small Cities for Economic Strength Factors (Midland, TX was first; Fairbanks, AK was 25th)
  • Ranked 45th out of 365 metros for economic and job growth (Columbus, IN was first; Dalton, GA was last)

The MSA’s ranking of 45th out of 365 metros puts the Elizabethtown MSA in the Top 15% of all metros in terms of economic and job growth.

“Once again, the Elizabethtown MSA is setting a strong pace for the rest of the Commonwealth,” said Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry L. Berry, who also serves as the Chairperson of Hardin County United’s Steering Committee. “Although the Owensboro MSA ranked a little higher (and we congratulate our neighbors to the West), the Area Development survey is consistent with other top-tier rankings that the Elizabethtown MSA has received during the past three years,” said Berry.

Here is how all Kentucky MSAs performed (out of 365 metros):

Elizabethtown MSA Ranking Hardin County Growth

“It is also interesting to note that the Elizabethtown MSA ranked higher than virtually all of its peer military metro markets (such as Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, Columbus/Fort Benning, Killeen/Fort Hood, Savannah – Hinesville/Fort Stewart, Lawton/Fort Sill, etc.),” said Luke B. Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC and consultant to Hardin County United. “In spite of a sluggish national economy, this market continues to amaze us in terms of its sustained growth and national rankings. Once again, we feel that this current environment makes a strong case for developing a plan for unified government by creating the Unification Review Commission. There is a real opportunity to unlock Hardin County’s full potential by creating the Commission,” said Schmidt.

On a related note, U.S. Census Bureau estimates for city populations were recently released. Hardin County’s cities continue to grow as shown in the chart which follows:

Elizabethtown surpassed Henderson’s population of 28,853 to move up and become Kentucky’s 10th largest city.


Hardin County United (HCU) was established for the purpose of examining the various strategic goals which were established by the Hardin County Vision Project in 2010. The intent of HCU is to prioritize the goals and to develop implementation strategies. HCU’s leadership team includes Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry who chairs the Steering Committee; Hardin County Chamber of Commerce President Brad Richardson, who chairs the Community Development Subcommittee; North Central Education Foundation President/CEO Al Rider, who chairs the Education Subcommittee; and Hardin Circuit Court Judge Ken Howard who chairs the Governance Subcommittee. Luke Schmidt, President of L.B. Schmidt & Associates, LLC, provides management and consulting services to HCU.


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