Amazon "HQ2" wooed by hundreds of U.S. cities

NEW YORK - Amazon (AMZN) says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters.

The online retailer kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs and spend up to $5 billion. Proposals from cities, states and regions were due last week, and Amazon made clear that tax breaks and grants would be a big deciding factor on where it chooses to land.

Amazon has said the second headquarters, dubbed "HQ2," will be a full equal to its Seattle home. The company says it will announce a decision sometime next year.

Cities vying to attract HQ2 range from major business meccas including Boston, Chicago and New York to emerging technology hubs such as Austin, Texas, to smaller cities such as Toledo, Ohio, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, hoping to drive economic growth.

Amazon has said it prefers cities with a population of at least 1 million. But experts predict the e-commerce giant will need a larger metropolitan area with a sizable labor market and better-educated workers.   

With a third of U.S. adults having a bachelor's degree, there are 26 metro areas where more than 33 percent of the population has at least a college degree.  

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Note: The Los Angeles metro, with 32.7 percent of adults have at least a bachelor's degree, fell below the educational cutoff, but it was included on this list due to its size and because its entertainment industry is potentially important to Amazon.

Source: U.S. Census/American Community Survey, 2015 estimates

Research by University of California, Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti shows that high-tech companies like Amazon create what he calls a "clustering effect," generating up to five additional local jobs for each worker employed at the company. As a result, he estimates HQ2 could create as many as 300,000 total jobs over 20 years.

Attracting Amazon could have a downside, however. Amazon is likely to require generous tax breaks and other incentives in exchange for situating itself in a given location, depriving cities and states of tax revenue.