A dynamic economic landscape has given rise to five distinct types of local economies, according to a comprehensive analysis of local economies released by the National League of Cities (NLC)--a highly rural cluster; a large central city cluster; and three types of midsized economies. The report, "Local Economic Conditions: The Untold Story of the Varied Middle," also finds that 84 percent of cities that report their local economies have improved since 2016.
The five groupings of local economies revealed by a cluster analysis of 224 cities are:
* Rural Brain Drains (populations of less than 50,000)--a cluster of highly rural cities with shrinking populations and a lack of affordable housing.
* Cities on Par (populations of 50,000 to 99,000)--one of three mid-sized clusters that seems to be experiencing the national trend of slow, positive growth driven by new business starts.
* Room to Grow (populations of 100,000 to 299,000)--one of three mid-sized clusters that is defined by favorable commercial property values, affordable housing stock, and population growth.
* Mid-Sized Business Boomers (populations of 100,000 to 299,000)--one of three mid-sized clusters that features business expansions but faces significant misalignment of...