Where America's Jobs Are Created and Sustained
Leaders in the 2009 index, which ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs, are all metros that succeeded in avoiding the worst of economic declines driven by falling housing markets and job losses in manufacturing and global trade.
The 2009 top 10 performers (with 2008 rankings) of the 200 largest metros:
1. Austin-Round Rock, TX (4)
2. Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX (13)
3. Salt Lake City, UT (3)
4. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX (7)
5. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX (16)
6. Durham, NC (21)
7. Olympia, WA (9)
8. Huntsville, AL (5)
9. Lafayette, LA (14)
10. Raleigh-Cary, NC (2)
Regional economic factors also strongly influenced the rankings this year, with the oil and gas sector, technology and alternative energy providing stability among metros in Texas, North Carolina, Washington and Louisiana, which also benefited from low dependence on housing/construction. Austin in particular has been helped by its strong tech industry. It is the first metro to ever be ranked number one twice on the index, the last time being in 2000.
Another factor helping Texas metros move up in the rankings is that state's favorable business climate and its ability to attract jobs and corporations away from higher-cost states.
The Best Performing Cities Index includes both long-term (five years) and short-term (one year) measurements of employment and salary growth. There are also four measurements of technology output growth, which are included because of technology's crucial role in creating good jobs and driving regional economies.
Data for all 324 metros is available on our 2009 Best-Performing Cities interactive web site.