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The Best Performing Cities in 2012: Milken Institute

Daily Ticker

The Milken Institute is out with its annual list of best performing cities and the results show that both tech and manufacturing are on the rise.

Unlike other "best places" lists, Milken's report is not a quality of life survey. It does not focus on weather, number of golf courses or healthcare facilities, but rather on job and wage growth and the propensity for technological innovation.

San Jose, Calif. topped the 2012 list for large metros, jumping 5o spots from the previous year mainly because of the area's exploding tech sector.

"The San Jose metro area continues to have the top regional innovation ecosystem," according to Ross DeVol, chief research officer at Milken.

For every one tech job created in the San Jose metro area, five jobs are created in other sectors of the local economy. It has been more than ten years since the city was ranked #1.

Top 5 Large Performing Metros

  1. San Jose, CA
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Raleigh, NC
  4. Houston, TX
  5. Washington, D.C.

But the explosion of the technology industry is not endemic to Silicon Valley. Other cities across the country are experiencing a revitalization in the tech sector as the list above shows.

If you're worried that another tech bubble may be brewing, DeVol says this time is different because today's tech companies have "proven business models."

Top 5 Small Performing Metros

  1. Logan, UT
  2. Morgantown, WV
  3. Bismarck, ND
  4. Odessa, TX
  5. Fargo, ND

The other major finding in the report is the uptick in manufacturing in cities across the country.

"A number of the major gainers were in the upper Midwest," says DeVol. "Manufacturing in the United States has begun what I might to call a 'mini rebirth'."

Other findings in the report include:

  • Texas is losing its edge: While the state still going strong with 7 metros in the top 25, it has lost some of its stature due to slowing natural gas and oil production in the state.
  • Utah is rockin' it: Both Salt Lake City and Provo are in the top 10 best performing cities for large metros.
  • New York is making a comeback: The city has experienced growth in the entertainment and technology industries.

The Milken Institue has conducted its survey since 1999. To read the report, click here.

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