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Milken Institute / Greenstreet Partners Best Performing Cities 2007
September 2007
Ross DeVol, Armen Bedroussian, and Soojung Kim

For the third consecutive year, Florida metropolitan areas scored high on the Milken Institute / Greenstreet Partners 2007 Best Performing Cities Index, taking three of the top six spots – including this year’s top-ranked metro, Ocala.

But their hold on the Index loosened slightly as other cities rose in the annual ranking of where America’s jobs are being created and sustained. Nationwide trends influenced many regional shifts, including a rebound in the tech sector (boosting metros in the San Francisco Bay Area, Salt Lake City, Utah and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas), increasing global trade (pushing Wilmington, North Carolina to 2nd place) and even the effects of migration as a result of Hurricane Katrina (particularly Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Louisiana).

The top 10 performers (with its last ranking, in 2005, in parentheses) of the 200 largest metros:

1. Ocala, Florida (13)
2. Wilmington, North Carolina (59)
3. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California (10)
4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona (15)
5. Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida (6)
6. Naples-Marco Island, Florida (3)
7. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas (7)
8. Provo-Orem, Utah (23)
9. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada (11)
10. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina (45)

Biggest Movers: The biggest mover from last year is Lafayette, Louisiana, which jumped up 119 places (143rd to 24th) due to a post-Hurricane Katrina population influx. Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, Maine, which fell 115 spots (from 42nd to 157th), is experiencing the early impacts of the base realignment and closure of the Naval Air Station in Brunswick.

The lowest performers on this year’s Index once again come from the industrial Midwest. Nine of the bottom 10 performers on the 200 largest cities ranking are from this area, including the lowest ranked metro, Lansing-East Lansing, Michigan.

About the Best Performing Cities Index: The Index ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs. It 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 regional economic growth. This year’s Index was sponsored by Greenstreet Real Estate Partners.

The index series has been re-designated to reflect the year that it is released, rather than previous indexes that reflected the year the data was collected. The 2007 Best Performing Cities Index reflects data collected from 2006. This contrasts with the 2005 Best Performing Cities Index, which reflected data collected in 2005, but was released in 2006. The re-designation merely reflects a change in the title, not a gap in the data.

View the 2007 Best Performing Cities rankings.
Download the full report.

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