COLUMBIA — Columbia beat out an impressive list of cities as the "hardest-working town" in America in a weekend report published in Parade Magazine.
The distinction means Mayor Bob McDavid will have an extra chore to do.
Parade's list of hard-working towns includes:
- Hartford, Conn.
- Norfolk, Va.
- Bloomington, Ind.
- Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Gainesville, Fla.
- Las Cruces, N.M.
- Newark, N.J.
- Lansing, Mich.
- Bridgeport, Conn.
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Salt Lake City
- Los Angeles
- Waco, Texas
- Athens, Ga.
- Boulder, Colo.
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Long Beach, Calif.
- Evansville, Ind.
- Akron, Ohio
- Albany, N.Y.
- Montgomery, Ala.
On the morning of April 25, McDavid will be at Flat Branch Park passing out samples of Total Cereal, which sponsored the list produced by Parade, Total spokeswoman Kristen Zemeitus said.
It was the long hours Columbia residents work, the city's low unemployment rate and its high concentration of dual-income homes that earned the city the title. Other cities on the list included some of the country's largest metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles and Dallas, and smaller cities such as Norfolk, Va., and Bloomington, Ind.
Parade cited data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and a survey conducted by Mediamark Research as its sources for developing the list. Mediamark asked people how often they work on weekends or whether they mind sacrificing their personal lives for work.
"Since this is not a list that had been done before, we used our editorial judgment and a combination of sources to determine what makes a hard-working town," Parade editor Maggie Murphy said in an email response to Missourian questions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Columbia's projected unemployment rate for February was 5.4 percent. The national unemployment rate for February was 8.2 percent.
The magazine partnered with Total Cereal to create the list for its "What People Earn" issue, which was delivered with the Missourian's Sunday print edition. The full report, with photos from the hardest-working towns, appeared on Parade's website.
"It just so happened that Total Cereal wanted to salute the hardest working towns," Murphy said. "But they make food. They are not exactly equipped to do this kind of research. I thought it was a good editorial match for the issue, so that’s why my edit team took on the task of compiling a list of the hardest working towns in the U.S."
Zemeitus, the Total spokeswoman, said the project was a good fit for the company's cereal product.
"Total sees itself as a hardworking cereal," she said in an email.
To go along with the story, Total Cereal has decided to hand out 100-calorie packs of its cereal in each of the top five towns on Parade's list. In Columbia, they will distribute the samples on April 25 at Flat Branch Park, beginning at 6:30 a.m. McDavid, who could not be reached for comment, will join them from 8 to 9 a.m.
See our Facebook album of hard-working Columbians, and send us your own pictures by email to submissions@ColumbiaMissourian.com.