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CNNMoney.com > Small Business > Best Places to Launch

Biggest GDP growth
Who profited the most from the boom? For the five-year period from 2001-2006, these metro areas had the fastest local GDP growth.
Rank Metro area GDP growth GDP (in millions) Population
1 Lake Charles, LA 119% $13,802 192,856
2 Casper, WY 85% $5,678 73,129
3 Palm Coast, FL 84% $1,422 91,247
4 St. George, UT 81% $3,305 137,589
5 Port St. Lucie, FL 76% $11,118 403,768
6 Farmington, NM 74% $6,538 122,500
7 Midland, TX 72% $8,700 129,494
8 Fort Walton Beach, FL 70% $9,357 179,693
9 Baton Rouge, LA 69% $36,848 774,327
10 Las Vegas, NV 67% $91,500 1,865,746
11 Prescott, AZ 64% $4,362 215,503
12 Bakersfield, CA 63% $25,067 800,458
13 Longview, TX 63% $8,238 204,746
14 Coeur d'Alene, ID 62% $3,857 137,475
15 Panama City, FL 61% $6,104 163,946
16 Lake Havasu City, AZ 60% $3,600 196,281
17 Ocala, FL 59% $7,341 329,628
18 Victoria, TX 59% $4,766 114,313
19 Fairbanks, AK 58% $4,612 97,970
20 Hanford, CA 58% $3,639 149,518
21 Bend, OR 57% $6,011 158,456
22 Clarksville, TN 57% $8,752 261,220
23 Hinesville, GA 57% $2,681 69,943
24 Houma, LA 57% $8,633 201,148
25 Odessa, TX 56% $4,776 131,941
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Gross Domestic Product by Metropolitan Area for 2006.
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The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

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This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

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