Atlanta had a gross metropolitan product of $306.2 billion in 2013, making it the 10th largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
If that’s not impressive enough, juxtapose it with the rest of the world: Atlanta’s economy is almost exactly the same size as that of Iran, which has more than 76 million people and abundant stores of oil.
In fact, if the Atlanta metro area were a standalone country, it would have the world’s 44th largest economy, just behind Malaysia, Denmark, South Africa and Venezuela but ahead of Nigeria, Singapore and Israel.
That’s all according to the June Metro Economies Report Index by The United States Conference of Mayors, which tracks the economies of the top 100 metro areas in the country.
The data reinforce Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed‘s vocal assertions that mayors are growing in influence as the world urbanizes and businesspeople grow “tired of the dysfunction of the federal government.”
“Businesspeople around the world are frustrated with national governments. When you have a local leader who has the ability, and more importantly, the will to put it on the line and move, that’s going cause the real disruption between now and 2024,” he said during a panel on Imagining 2024: Urban America at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June
Mr. Reed foresees an era in which public-private partnerships between companies and receptive local leaders become more common as the federal government retreats from funding city functions, seeing its influence diminish along with the “size of its checkbook.”
He saw the trend as a cause for optimism.
“I think that that frees us up to do our own deal and to be creative,” he said to applause from the audience.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors report showed that job growth in Atlanta, along with Houston, Dallas and San Francisco, will outpace that of the rest of the top 10 metro areas in the coming years. It projected that Atlanta’s metro economy will grow to $321.1 billion this year and $339.9 billion in 2015.