Weighing factors such as job creation, wage gains, and technology trends, the Milken Institute has ranked Austin as the number four best-performing large city in the nation. However, this ranking is down two spots from last year’s ranking, when it was second among the nation’s best-performing cities. In 2013, Austin was ranked the top city in the nation.
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metro ranked first, followed by the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, California metro, and then Provo-Orem, Utah. Dallas-Plano-Irving rounded out the top five. The only other Texas metro to appear on the top 25 list was San Antonio-New Braunfels at number 12.
While Texas’ total of three cities on the list is strong comparatively, the total was down from previous years. For example, 2014 saw seven Texas metros on the list. The report cited a “slowdown in shale-oil exploration” for the drop.
Some of the rankings for the Austin metro:
- 2nd in Job Growth from 2009-2014
- 12th in Job Growth from 2013-2014
- 3rd in Wage Growth from 2008-2013
- 25th in Wage Growth from 2012-2013
- 10th in High-Tech GDP Growth from 2009-2014
- 9th in High-Tech GDP Concentration in 2014
The report cited Austin’s diverse economy for the continued high ranking, with its rapidly expanding leisure and hospitality sector, in addition to health services and medical research. It cited the city’s many festivals in explaining the continued rise in leisure and hospitality jobs.
Also noted was Austin’s housing demand, which the report states has “returned to pre-housing crisis levels despite prices rising at an 8 percent year-over-year pace in recent months.”
The report says, “Austin seems poised to remain among the best performers in the years ahead.”