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Study: Austin, Texas, and Atlanta are top candidates for Amazon's 2nd HQ

The two best options for Amazon.com Inc.'s second headquarters may be in the Southern U.S., according to an analysis published Oct. 12 by Moody's Analytics.

The study, which identified 10 metropolitan areas best suited for Amazon's second home, put the Austin-Round Rock, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area at the top of the list. The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA received second place, followed by Philadelphia in third.

Analysts cited Austin's developed technology industry, which includes players such as Dell Technologies Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp., as well as its educated workforce and reasonable cost of living as potential assets for Amazon.

"Also, being in the center of the country offers the benefit that the company could bring together its executives from all over the country with just a few hours of flying time," Moody's Economy.com Director Ed Friedman wrote.

Austin is also home to the headquarters of Whole Foods Market Inc., which Amazon purchased for $13.7 billion in August.

Like the Texas capital, Atlanta is also a technology hub with an educated workforce, Moody's wrote, though the city's mass transit system and heavy traffic congestion weighed on its ranking.

Since Amazon specified the criteria for cities interested in hosting its second headquarters on Sept. 7, dozens of cities have expressed some degree of interest in competing for the campus. The company indicated that cities have until Oct. 19 to submit proposals to host the headquarters.

The e-commerce giant has estimated that it has invested about $38 billion in Seattle, home to the company's only headquarters, between 2010 and 2016. Amazon also said it employs roughly 40,000 people in the city.

The analysis looked at multiple factors, including each city's business environment, quality of life, cost of living, transportation systems and workforce.

After Philadelphia, the other cities Moody's ranked were: Rochester, N.Y.; Pittsburgh; New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ MSA; Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL MSA; Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA; Boston; and Salt Lake City.