Austin Secures Top Position as Best Performing City in the United States

Austin Secures Top Position as Best Performing City in the United States

Source from: Mike Christen
Author from Austin Business Journal

The Austin area has reclaimed its position at the top of the Milken Institute's prestigious 2024 Best-Performing Cities list. This recognition is likely to capture the attention of those seeking new places to reside or establish businesses, dispelling any notion that Austin's prime has passed.

Published annually since 1999, the index from this nonprofit think tank ranks cities based on various metrics, including job creation, wage growth, and output growth. Particularly valuable for realtors, job recruiters, and site selectors, the list aids in evaluating and comparing cities nationwide. Austin's current top spot in Milken's largest cities category marks a return to a position it last held in 2013, having ranked second in 2023 and 2022, following three years at No. 3.

This year's ascent is primarily attributed to job and wage growth, notably in the flourishing local tech industry driven by major players like Tesla Inc. Milken characterizes the city as possessing a "well-balanced assortment" of tech industry positions, securing its place among America's best-performing metros.

The report depicts the region as a leader in sustainable and equitable growth within the post-pandemic U.S. economy, expanding despite inflation and rising interest rates.

Key highlights include:

1. Austin leads in five-year job growth, with its tech sector expanding nearly 63% from 2017 to 2022.
2. Between 2017 and 2022, the metro's job market grew by 23%, accompanied by a 73% increase in wages.
3. Ranking eighth in five-year growth in high-tech gross domestic product and seventh in high-tech GDP concentration.
4. Austin is fourth in the diversity of its tech industry.
5. Improvement in housing affordability, moving from No. 143 in 2023 to No. 120 this year.

Despite tech sector layoffs in 2023, not reflected in the 2017-2022 data used by Milken, Austin continued its growth. Ongoing tech-related projects include NXP Semiconductors NV's $300 million investment, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s $17 billion chipmaking plant, and Tesla's expanding gigafactory and headquarters.

The 2024 Milken Institute Ranking of Large U.S. Cities:

1. Austin-Round Rock
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
3. Boise, Idaho
4. Salt Lake City, Utah
5. Provo-Orem, Utah
6. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
7. Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, Arkansas/Missouri
8. Dallas–Plano–Irving
9. Olympia-Tumwater, Washington
10. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, North Carolina/South Carolina

Source: Christen, Mike (2024). Austin Business Journal.

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