Economy Watch: 2017’s Best-Performing Cities

The cities topping the Milken Institute's annual Best-Performing Cities Index have a robust high-tech sector, as well as strong wage and job growth.

Source: Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities 2017
Source: Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities 2017

Provo-Orem, Utah, characterized by a robust high-tech sector and broad-based job and wage growth last year, is the Best-Performing City in the United States, according to the recently released Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities 2017 Index. The Milken Institute is a think tank established by Michael Milken, whose goal is to advance global prosperity.

The index uses metrics in nine categories to evaluate the relative growth of U.S. metropolitan areas. Metrics include growth in jobs, wages and salaries, and technology output over time. The index also measures high-tech fields whose concentrations in a metro area are higher than the national average. Most of these metrics have a direct, or sometimes indirect, bearing on the health of a local real estate market.

Raleigh, N.C., with its comparatively low business costs and thriving R&D-driven industries, ranked second in the nation, the institute reported. Dallas, which has added more than 50,000 high-skill professional, scientific and technical industry jobs in the last five years, came in third in 2017.

Overall, six Florida and four California cities ranked among the top-25 Best-Performing Cities. For instance, California’s Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario) jumped 24 places and made the top 20 for the first time in a decade. Also posting double-digit gains were the Florida regions of Sarasota-Bradenton, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, and Tampa-St. Petersburg.

San Jose, Calif., last year’s top city and long known for its generation of tech jobs and businesses, is showing signs of slowing down. According to Milken, San Jose dropped 10 places to No. 11 overall in 2017.