Milken Institute Names 2015 Best-Performing Cities Index

Five Florida Cities Rank in the Top 50 Best-Performing Cities

Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. The components include job, wage and salary, and technology growth. In most years, these give a good indication of the underlying structural performance of regional economics.


  • Top 10 U.S. Cities: San Jose (CA), San Francisco (CA), Provo (UT), Austin (TX), Dallas (TX), Raleigh (NC), Seattle (WA), Portland (OR), Greeley (CO), San Luis Obispo (CA), Salt Lake City (UT), San Antonio (TX), Charlotte (NC), Fort Collins (CO) 
  • Eleven Florida cities ranked in the top 100 Best-Performing Cities: Naples (15), Orlando (28), Ft Myers (40), Ft. Lauderdale (41), and West Palm Beach (50), Tampa (58), Miami (65), Pt St. Lucie (80), Jacksonville (82) and Gainesville (91).  Table 1 is a list of Florida cities ranked in the top 200 Best-Performing Cities. 
  • Eight of the top U.S. gainers from 2014 were located in Florida. St. Lucie was the most improved metro area in the U.S. 
  • The nation’s tech centers are prominent among the index’s top performers, as are cities that have experienced high technology growth rates. 
  • The slashing of oil prices has undercut the economic performance of several metros whose fortunes are tied to shale-oil extraction. On the other hand, the lower price regime reveals the value of diversification: Several metros that branched out to other industries even when they were formally dependent on oil now continue to thrive. Here, think of Dallas, Denver, and San Antonio, among others. 
  • Metros involved in designing and creating technology products and services are growing most rapidly. Specifically, the composition of growth has shifted toward software and social media, and away from information and communication technology (ICT) equipment. Look to San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and even New York City to see the extent of this phenomenon.