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Allentown was named one of the top ten cities in the United States for companies to locate their finance or information technology operations, according to a leading global business consultant.

The Hackett Group evaluated 33 metropolitan areas in the U.S., analyzing each according to 30 criteria, including quality of the local talent, tax incentives, infrastructure and quality of life.

Allentown ranked seventh in the United States and 62nd in the world.

“It is exciting to see Allentown gain even more national recognition for being a great place for businesses, employees and families to thrive,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “This can only help us to bring even more good paying jobs to the city.”

According to Fortune magazine, the study tracks a trend that has seen an increasing number of companies locating operations centers in the United States rather than moving overseas. More than 1,000 of these centers have opened in the past couple of years, the magazine said.

“Midsized metro areas and rural communities in the United States have become viable choices for establishing service delivery centers, with advantages that include turnover rates that are significantly lower than offshore; proximity to customers and headquarters; cultural affinity; business knowledge; and reasonable real estate and infrastructure costs,” according to the report’s executive summary.

“Also, the labor-cost difference between U.S. and prime offshore locations has been diminishing.

“Furthermore, a backlash against the offshoring of jobs has made job retention ‘at home’ an intangible source of value for U.S. companies. Some states have used tax and other incentives as motivations to create or retain service-center jobs as an antidote to high unemployment rates.”