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The top large and small cities based on job, wage and high-tech growth are mainly in the western and southern regions, according to a recent report.
Places in Utah—Provo–Orem and Logan—top the Milken Institute's annual Best-Performing Cities index based on their economic resiliency, tech industry growth, job opportunities and higher wages.
Several other cities in Utah and Idaho are in the top tier of large cities (Salt Lake City) and small cities (St. George, Utah and Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, Idaho), which points to the region's continued success at creating jobs and raising wages, according to Milken.
Provo–Orem maintained its No. 1 status because it had the highest levels of employment and wage growth over the past five years, as well as the highest one-year employment growth. Provo–Orem also ranked in the top 10 metros for one-year wage growth and five-year high-tech gross domestic product growth.
However, the area ranked much lower for housing affordability (162), which Milken said could be a "potential source of concern" if higher wages price lower-income residents out of the market.
Logan moved up from No. 2 in 2021 to take the top spot among small cities this year. The city ranked in the top 10 in one-year and five-year employment growth and one-year and five-year wage growth, and for its concentration of high-tech industries.
Nevertheless, Logan ranked much lower in housing affordability (178).
Among the large cities on the list, San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, California and Durham–Chapel Hill, North Carolina moved into the top tier this year. In the small cities category, Redding, California; Walla Walla, Washington; and Champaign–Urbana, Illinois made the biggest jumps.
Top Big Best-Performing Cities
Austin-Round Rock, Texas
Salt Lake City
Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Florida
San Jose–Sunnyvale–Santa Clara, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top Small Best-Performing Cities
St. George, Utah
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Idaho Falls, Idaho
Walla Walla, Washington
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
The 2022 index shows that high tech jobs continue to move away from the coasts to more affordable areas with thriving local economies. While many traditional tech hubs still provide economic opportunities—for instance, San Jose and Durham–Chapel Hill rebounded on the list this year—they aren't the only places creating high paying jobs, according to Milken.
For this year's index, the institute said it included information from the National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index and Federal Communications Commission data on access to broadband providers.
For more information from the report click here.
Jean Dimeo is managing editor of Route Fifty.
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