Milken Institute Report - Best Performing Cities in USA (2012)
Why are some places in America prospering, and some struggling? What separates the cities that are positioned well for the future from those that are still mired in the setbacks inflicted by the financial crisis and the Great Recession? Milken Institute's annual Best-Performing Cities index provides a data-driven, comprehensive measure of economic strength across metropolitan areas. It includes job, wage, and technology metrics over a five-year period to capture the structural elements.
A relative handful of communities have seen employment rebound to prerecession levels; they are poised to gain a bigger share of the accelerating expansion we expect to see. Identifying the regions that weathered the downturn best and are recovering fastest reveals a range of ideas and strategies for seizing opportunity and keeping risk at bay. One clear takeaway is that communities and industries that embrace technological know-how can claim an enviable advantage. In 2012, rewards accrued to those that designed and produced communications and computing devices. It also helped to have the stuff in the ground to meet America's energy needs and host industries that lent stability to the local economy, if not spectacular growth.
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., vaulted 50 spots from last year to lead our Best Performing Large Cities Index, a position it last held in the 2002 rankings.
- Texas metros didn't dominate the rankings quite as much as last year but still took three of the Top 10 positions and seven of the Top 25.
- Tech centers performed well, holding 12 of the Top 25 positions. In addition to San Jose, Austin-Round Rock, Texas; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV; Salt Lake City, Utah, and Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass., were in the Top 10.
- Logan, Utah-Idaho remained the best Small City for 2012 with the help of a thriving technology sector.
- Holland-Grand Haven, Mich., enjoyed the biggest surge, rising 108 spots.
What's Behind the Success Stories?
The return of technology clusters to the list of Best-Performing Cities is the top story for 2012.
The resurgence of business investment in equipment, especially information technology and software, has been the unheralded story of this recovery as businesses began making IT purchases that had been deferred. Throw in some social media, iPads, the apps that run them and clean technology, and it becomes clear why these tech centers advanced in 2012.
A recovery in traditional manufacturing was also important, particularly autos and heavy capital goods like mining equipment and excavators.
How Can This Information Be Used?
The study pinpoints where employment is stable and expanding, wages and salaries are increasing, and economies and businesses are thriving. Armed with this knowledge, businesses, investors, industry associations, development agencies and government officials, academics, and public-policy groups can assess, monitor, and gain insight into each metro's performance relative to the rest. It also provides benchmarking data that can inform approaches to improving a region's performance.
Moreover, the index provides a tool for understanding consumer markets and business opportunities as communities recover from the financial crisis and Great Recession. Identifying the regions that weathered the downturn best and are recovering fastest reveals a range of ideas and strategies for seizing opportunity and keeping risk at bay.
About the Milken Institute
A nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank, the Milken Institute works to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital, and enhance health. We produce rigorous, independent economic research—and maximize its impact by convening global leaders from the worlds of business, finance, government, and philanthropy. By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, we transform great ideas into action.
SOURCE: Milken Institute