Fort Worth-Arlington area among top 10 best-performing cities

Posted Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Best-Performing Cities 2012

Large metro areas

1. San Jose, Calif.

2. Austin

3. Raleigh, N.C.

4. Houston

5. Washington, D.C.

6. Salt Lake City

7. Provo-Orem, Utah

8. Cambridge, Mass.

9. Charleston, S.C.

10. Fort Worth-Arlington

14. Dallas

18. El Paso

20. Lubbock

22. San Antonio

Small metro areas

1. Logan, Utah

2. Morgantown, W.Va.

3. Bismarck, N.D.

4. Odessa

5. Fargo, N.D.

6. Longview

7. State College, Pa.

8. Midland

9. Tyler

10. Columbia, Mo.

Source: Milken Institute

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Fort Worth-Arlington jumped 14 spots to No. 10 in the Milken Institute's "Best-Performing Cities 2012" report, which measures economic vitality.

Texas didn't dominate the rankings of 200 large metros quite as much as last year, but still had three cities in the top 10, including No. 2 Austin and No. 4 Houston.

Dallas climbed from No. 20 in 2011 to No. 14, and Lubbock jumped five spots to No. 20.

San Antonio fell from No. 11 to No. 22, and El Paso dropped 16 spots to No. 18.

Texas also had four cities in the top 10 among 179 smaller metro areas, led by No. 4 Odessa, which jumped 30 positions from last year. Longview was No. 6, followed by No. 8 Midland and No. 9 Tyler.

Milken, a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank, said the index is designed to gauge how well U.S. metro areas are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. The components include job, wage and salary gains, as well as technology growth.

The report does not measure cost-of-living components or quality-of-life measures such as commute times or crime rates.

Fort Worth-Arlington was in the upper range in a number of categories, including 16th in job growth over five years and 22nd in job growth in 2010-11. It was 25th in wage growth from 2005 to 2010.

The report noted that Fort Worth has become a warehousing and transportation hub that offers "substantial cost advantages" over Dallas.

The area's liabilities include layoffs associated with the American Airlines bankruptcy filing and the downsizing of the defense budget, which could affect local aerospace manufacturing.

The study said the resurgence of technology clusters is the top trend of 2012. Led by No. l San Jose, Calif., which last held the top spot in 2002, tech centers held 12 of the top 25 spots.

The No. 1 small metro was Logan, Utah, which also has a thriving tech sector.

Florida had five cities ranked in the bottom 10, including No. 200 Lakeland-Winter Haven. Modesto, Calif., was next to last, just below No. 198 Las Vegas.

The biggest gainers were Holland-Grand Haven, Mich., which climbed 108 spots to No. 40, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, which rose 94 spots to No. 49.

Little Rock declined the most, dropping 132 spots to No. 151.

Steve Campbell, 817-390-7981

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