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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 2 years ago

DataSnapshot: Salute to cities

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It could be a dream come true for some in the Sunshine State.

Florida recently earned the honor of being among top 25 “best-performing” cities in the United States.

The Milken Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, data-driven think tank, released its Best-Performing Cities 2017 Index in January. The index — published every year since 1999 — uses metrics such as job growth, technology output and wages and salaries to determine which cities make the list.

Provo-Orem, Utah topped the national list. A statement from the institute points out the area is home to Brigham Young University and a growing tech and entrepreneurial community.

Within the best-performing cities ranking for large cities and metropolitan areas, six Florida cities stood out. The highest honor for the state went to the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region at No. 6. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area is No. 7, and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach is No. 12. And No. 15 — often considered a growing center for tech and entrepreneurship — is Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.

The report's comments on the Sarasota-Bradenton region specifically read like a dream come true for an economic development official. The region, for starters, ranked No. 1 among all large regions nationally for short-term job growth, measured from August 2016 to August 2017. The Sarasota-Bradenton area also moved up from No. 25 on the Milken “Best-Performing” cities list in 2016 to its No. 6 spot on the 2017 index.

“The region tops the chart in 12-month job growth, beating out economic powerhouses around the country,” the report states. “Though the region is largely a tourist destination and retiree haven, high-tech industry output has been growing, signaling some success in the area's push to diversify its industry profile and thus improving resilience.”

The final two Florida cities in the top 25 were Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island at No. 18 and Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach at No. 21. “Metropolitan areas are crucial drivers of growth in the American economy, taking different paths to prosperity depending on their industry mix, policy choices, and available resources,” says Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute's Center for Regional Economics.

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