The Milken Institute recently released their Best-Performing Cities U.S. index. This study measures which American cities offer the best opportunities for prosperity and innovation. These results are assembled by analyzing key metrics of growth in each state. The metrics are:
- Long-term job growth
- Wage and salary growth
- Short-term job growth
- High-tech GDP growth
- Number of high-tech industries
Taken together, these metrics paint a picture of business expansion and technological superiority. To the small businesses owner, the high-ranked cities should be carefully considered as a potential sites for placing new offices or building from the ground up.
At the top of the list is Provo–Orem, Utah, placed first because it outpaces its competition in all metrics by significant margins. This city is home to Brigham Young University, a leading technology transfer institution that is fostering a vibrant high-tech metropolis. Prominent software company Adobe also resides in the Silicon Slopes of the Provo-Orem region. They recently announced plans to expand their Utah-based empire.
While Provo is outpacing the competition, there are a number of other cities nipping at their heels. Other cities that ranked high on the list include:
- Raleigh, NC
- Dallas–Plano–Irving, TX
- San Francisco–Redwood City–South San Francisco, CA
- Fort Collins, CO
- North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL
- Nashville–Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
- Austin–Round Rock, TX
- Salt Lake City, UT
Each of these cities demonstrated superior performance in economic and technological fields. The study shows that a significant driving factor in regional economic health and performance is the growth of high-tech industries.
Cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and San Jose are experiencing rising wages and increased costs in doing business. This has caused many tech startups to plant their roots elsewhere. In the search for the best growth spots, the cities listed above have been shown to be prime locations.
Interestingly, about 1/3 of the cities listed above are in college towns. The presence of a college with a strong tech focus is the impetus for graduated and matriculated students to form startups. This is evidence that education geared towards modern economic needs can produce serious growth.
Growth in the cities mentioned above is projected to continue in 2018. For budding startups, this could mean packing a Book of Mormon and shipping off to Utah. While the data above is important in making a decision about where to plant your roots, it doesn’t replace specific market research about where your customers need you.