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Best-performing cities make smart investments in technology & energy

By Mike Wheatley | February 13, 2015

Smart investments in energy and innovation earn San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX the distiction of being named the Best-Performing Cities in America by the Milken Institute.


Image credit: SFPhotographer via

The Milken Insitute ranked 379 metro areas to help businesses, investors, government officials, and public-policy groups track and evaluate the performance of metros where they do business relative to the rest of the country. In the 2014 index, the they weighed nine factors, including job, wage, and technology trends, with a heavy emphasis on growth in jobs creation and retention and the overall quality of new jobs.

What made these cities better equipped to weather the recent economic downturn was their ability to "offset high costs, an unfavorable tax structure, and a burdensome regulatory environment thanks to the clustering of talent and technology in an entrepreneurial ecosystem. The two main factors driving the success of these metros is technology and shale energy production.

"Technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are altering the energy landscape of the United States," said the study authors. "Few experts had anticipated the magnitude of the boom in shale oil and gas exploration and production occurring since 2007. Energy investment has claimed the largest share of GDP since the early 1980s."

Study Highlights

  • San Franciso, CA, earned the top spot among large metros, accounting for 45 percent of all jobs created over the five years ending in 2013.
  • Five Texas metro areas were ranked in the top 10 list of best-performing cites, due to a combination of tech, energy strength, and a favorable business climate.
  • California and Colorado each had four metro areas in the Top 25.
  • Technology centers, made up of creative and scientific-based industries represented 13 of the Top 25.
  • Seven metros made the Top 25 due to large gains in shale oil and gas exploration, associated infrastructure investment, and related activities.
  • Fargo, ND, was No. 1 among small metros, benefitting from the shale oil boom and a diverse makeup of industries.
  • West Palm Beach, FL, increased 93 spots and was the city with the overall biggest increase.
Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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