As the U.S. economy heads toward normalcy – the latest evidence being the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates – we got to wondering which cities can most boast about their economies.
The Milken Institute has drilled down using a host of metrics to find the metro areas whose economic engines are firing on all cylinders. Milken divided cities into large and small, growth in jobs and wages and the robustness of high-tech industries as key benchmarks in its formula. The growth scores index job and pay growth against the national average, which gets a score of 100.
The Milken reports notes that job and wage growth contributes mightily to a community’s health and that the housing market nationally has bounced back from its nadir after the bubble burst.
Metro areas involved in designing high-tech hardware and software and social media apps had a leg up on other cities, the Milken report said.
In this year’s rankings, Southern states lead the way, taking six spots in the top 25. The Midwest only managed to land two metro areas among them.
Check out the Top 10 Large Cities for Job Growth: 2015:
10. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California
2014 Rank: 24th
5-Year Job Growth: 105.60 (ranked 18th)
1-Year Job Growth: 101.77 (ranked17th)
5-year Pay Growth: 100.51 (ranked 66th)
1-Year Pay Growth: 101.53 (ranked 33rd)
Overall Index: 763
Takeaway: The metro area, with a population of about 280,000, saw job growth that was 2% higher than the national average.
9. Greeley, Colorado
2014 Rank: 9th
5-Year Job Growth: 117.29 (1st)
1-Year Job Growth: 106.74 (1st)
5-year Pay Growth: 111.27 (5th)
1-Year Pay Growth: 105.92 (1st)
Overall Index: 758
Takeaway: With about 277,000 residents, Greeley benefited from the oil extraction in nearby Nebraska, which pushed wages up.
8. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington
2014 Rank: 16th
5-Year Job Growth: 103.35 (41st)
1-Year Job Growth: 101.03 (38th)
5-year Pay Growth: 103.10 (37th)
1-Year Pay Growth: 101.35 (40th)
Overall Index: 688
Takeaway: Buoyed by gains in its tech sector, the area of 2.3 million people saw solid job and wage gains.
7. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington
2014 Rank: 11th
5-Year Job Growth: 103.58 (37th)
1-Year Job Growth: 101.09 (37th)
5-year Pay Growth: 107.52 (14th)
1-Year Pay Growth: 102.02 (23rd)
Overall Index: 622
Takeaway: At 2.8 million residents, the Seattle area was another Northwest metro area helped by a robust tech industry. After falling to 14th, the area climbed back into the Top 10.
6. Raleigh, North Carolina
2014 Rank: 5th
5-Year Job Growth: 105.61 (17th)
1-Year Job Growth: 1101.61 (22nd)
5-year Pay Growth: 107.82 (13th)
1-Year Pay Growth: 102.11 (11th)