Austin again was ranked high on a prestigious list, coming in second on the Milken Institute's 2022 Best-Performing Cities list. The city moved up a spot in the large city rankings after finishing in the No. 3 spot each of the previous three years.
The index, which has published annually since 1999, ranks cities on a variety of metrics, including job creation, wage growth, and output growth. It's designed to help the public and private sectors evaluate and compare cities throughout the nation. It is particularly handy for Realtors, job recruiters and site selectors.
Provo-Orem, Utah, which has become a hub for technology startups, was ranked first among large cities for the second consecutive year due to its high levels of employment growth and wage growth over the last five years.
"With a relatively low cost of living, low tax rate, and local talent, the area has attracted tech giants including Oracle, Adobe, Vivint Smart Home, Qualtrics, and Amazon, among other West Coast investors," Milken noted in the report.
The report also noted that high-tech jobs continue to move inland to more affordable metros. While much has been written about an "urban exodus," during the pandemic, the phenomenon was overstated, as Austin was listed as a city that had a notable growth rate.
Austin has been a magnet for a number of large tech companies in the last year, including Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which is planning to invest at least $17 billion into a chipmaking plant in Taylor. The facility is expected to create at least 2,000 direct jobs, 6,500 construction jobs and a 6-million-square-foot factory on roughly 1,200 acres between Taylor and Hutto. Dell Technologies Inc., Amazon.com LLC, Apple Inc., Tesla Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc. are among the companies that have continued to expand their presences in the metro.
"Our report shows how patterns of economic activity are growing and changing across the nation’s cities,” Charlotte Kesteven, report author and senior policy analyst at the Center for Regional Economics at the Milken Institute, said in a statement. “Comparing their performance provides an essential starting point for policymakers and local leaders to better evaluate their economies and plan for future economic success."
Milken Institute Ranking of Large U.S. Cities
1. Provo-Orem, Utah
2. Austin, Texas
3. Salt Lake City, Utah
4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
5. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida
6. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington
7. San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, California
8. Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, Arkansas/Missouri
9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
10. Dallas–Plano–Irving, Texas
The Milken list measures economic vitality in 200 large metropolitan areas and 201 small metropolitan areas using job creation, wage growth and innovation industry metrics. The 2021 version emphasized jobs, wages and high tech growth, housing affordability and household broadband access.
To download the full report from the Milken Institute, click here.