Metro Atlanta world’s 44th biggest economy

Behold the Kingdom of Metro Atlanta, an economic colossus muscling its way onto the global stage.

Need proof?

If, indeed, the metropolitan area were a country it would constitute the world’s 44th largest economy, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Bye, bye Nigeria (No. 45). Watch out Malaysia (No. 43). Make room Iran (also No. 44, based on a comparison of economic output performed by IHS Global Insight.)

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is joining hundreds of other mayors in Dallas this weekend for their annual confab and chest-thumping. Reports of cities’ economic prowess are produced like clockwork each time the mayors meet.

“Metropolitan areas continued to be the beating heart of the US economy in 2013,” this year’s report intoned before noting that city-dwellers comprise 84 percent of the nation’s population, 86 percent of non-farm employment and 90 percent of new housing starts.

Atlanta highlights of the Mayors’ report:

— The 10th largest metropolitan economy in the U.S. — that’s in line with its population rank — with $306 billion in gross metropolitan product (the region’s total output of goods and services) last year.

— A projected 5.3 percent unemployment rate by 2016. It’s currently at 6.5 percent.

— A 3.6 percent average annual growth rate.

Metropolitan areas comprise 36 of the world’s 100 largest economies, according to the report.

“Metropolitan Atlanta — with the City of Atlanta at its core — is a major economic force to be reckoned with, not only in the U.S., but in the world,” Reed said before boarding a Friday afternoon flight to Dallas.