Best-Performing Cities 2018 — About
Best-Performing Cities

Best-Performing Cities 2018

The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities (BPC) U.S. index provides a way to measure which American metropolitan areas offer the greatest opportunities for prosperity and innovation across the nation. The BPC index measures each metro areas’ economic performance using outcomes-based metrics such as job creation, wage gains, and technological developments to evaluate relative growth.

The Rankings:

Provo-Orem, UT, holds steady at the top of our index, thanks to a dynamic high-tech sector, an educated workforce, and a business-friendly tax and regulatory climate.

Growth through tech is the reigning theme across America, with Silicon Valley and several of Northern California’s tech-focused metro areas in the top 20. Outside the Golden State, tech hubs such as Austin-Round Rock, TX, Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX, and Raleigh, NC, have also leveraged their educated workforces and competitive business climates to generate growth.

Top 10 Best-Performing Large Cities 2018

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) /
Metropolitan Division (MD)
2018 Rank 2017 Rank Change
Provo-Orem, UT MSA 1 1 Steady
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA 2 11 +9
Austin-Round Rock, TX MSA 3 9 +6
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA MD 4 4 Steady
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX MD 5 3 -2
Raleigh, NC MSA 6 2 -4
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA 7 7 Steady
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA MD 8 17 +9
Fort Collins, CO MSA 9 5 -4
Salt Lake City, UT MSA 10 10 Steady

For the third year in a row, Bend-Redmond, OR is the top-performing small metro area in the nation with unrivaled job growth that began in the five years ending in 2017.

Top 10 Best-Performing Small Cities 2018

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) /
Metropolitan Division (MD)
2018 Rank 2017 Rank Change
Bend-Redmond, OR MSA 1 1 Steady
St. George, UT MSA 2 2 Steady
Gainesville, GA MSA 3 3 Steady
Elkhart-Goshen, IN MSA 4 6 +2
Coeur d'Alene, ID MSA 5 29 +24
San Rafael, CA MD 6 4 -2
Medford, OR MSA 7 28 +21
Athens-Clarke County, GA MSA 8 42 +34
Albany, OR MSA 9 22 +13
Logan, UT-ID MSA 10 24 +14

Key findings:

  • High-tech industries continue to fuel growth in many of the best-performing cities, creating opportunities for highly-skilled workers.

  • Low unemployment rates and a shortage of skilled labor are spurring more competition for knowledge-workers, putting upward pressure on wages in the tech sector and widening the income gap.

  • Top metro areas are enjoying impressive job and wage growth, but many are also seeing housing prices rise sharply.

  • The national economy provides a strong base for regional growth with soaring stock markets, low inflation, and high employment supporting consumer confidence.