Declining incomes and stagnant job growth have landed the Toledo area in a less favorable spot on Forbes.com's 12th annual ranking of the Best Places for Business and Careers.
In a survey of the 200 largest metro areas in the United States, the Toledo area ranked 169th among 200 metro areas.
A year ago, it ranked 150th.
Twelve factors are considered in the study.
Toledo improved in the cost of doing business (ranked 67th, up from 72nd a year ago), cost of living (12th from 17th), crime rate (163rd from 170th), projected job growth (81st from 158th), and numbers of subprime mortgages (69th from 105th).
It remained the same in culture and leisure (75th), which measures museums, golf courses, sports teams, and other activities. One category, projected economy growth (127th), was a new factor by the magazine's Web site.
But the metro area dropped in colleges (ranked 95th from 82nd a year ago), educational attainment (153rd from 137th), past job growth (193rd from 191st), and net migration (192nd from 188th).
Toledo-area job growth went from -0.4 percent in 2009 to -1.8 percent in the 2010 list.
Most importantly, the area slipped badly in income growth - falling from 69th to 165th place. According to Forbes.com, the area's median household income fell from $50,460 to $42,207.
Ohio's three largest cities improved their spots on the list. Columbus rose from 38th to 24th, Cincinnati went from 85th to 80th, and Cleveland went from 144th to 137th.
All other Ohio cities on the list slipped. Akron fell to 135th from 125th, Dayton to 164th from 135th, Canton to 191st from 185th, and Youngstown to 192nd from 187th.
Economist Jim Coons, of J.W. Coons Advisors LLC in Columbus, said the slippage by five Ohio cities "is representative of the weak economy of the state."
"You can see what's happening at the state level just by looking at the unemployment rate," Mr. Coons said.
Steve Weathers, president of Toledo's Regional Growth Partnership, said he takes the rankings with a grain of salt.
"I look through it to see what they're saying, what's going on," he said. "I read it with interest, but I don't lose sleep over it."
Mr. Weathers said such lists have marketing value if a city does well on them, but the measurements cited aren't the kinds of things companies use when making selections for new operations.
"They like to know what is your infrastructure to move products in and out," he said. "From that perspective, we'd probably rank very high."
Mr. Weathers said companies also want to know about area workers' skill level and the pricing of the work force.
"To be honest, they really don't ask much about nonunion or pro-union. They usually set that aside and say, 'Just tell us about the pricing.' If the pricing of labor is comparable and the skill set is the same, they say, 'We can work with that,'•" he said.
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