Breaking Down the Milken Rankings

Indiana, in recent times, is used to receiving better rankings. But then here are a few possible explanations for the results from the 2011 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index:

  • Maybe the sum (the state as a whole) is better than the individual parts (the cities and metropolitan areas evaluated based on jobs, salary and economic growth)
  • Maybe the factors in play here, with a strong emphasis on technology, don’t match up with our strengths. There are many different ways, by many different groups, of evaluating economic performance
  • Maybe the No. 49 for Bloomington on the small metro list and No. 74 of Evansville (large metros) are not that bad

The State Science and Technology Institute offers why it believes some areas fared well, including the ability to:

  • Attract high-tech firms — Fort Collins, CO jumped 47 positions to the third best large metro in 2011 due in part to its ability to attract a significant number of high-tech firms
  • Build effective industry clusters — Charleston, S.C. continued a steady climb among large metros to 11th this year from 30th in 2009 on the shoulders of its aerospace and data-processing services clusters
  • Capitalize on diversified tech-based economies — Salt Lake City jumped from 49th in 2010 to the sixth best large metro in 2011 due to a diverse mix of high-tech industries including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, transportation equipment, computer design and data-processing services
  • Cultivate strong manufacturing cores — Logan, UT jumped from 19 to the number one small city fueled by its manufacturing sectors
  • Experience export-driven growth — Los Angeles rose four spots to sixth among the 10 largest metros driven by the resurgence of international trade, especially in the  allied product-manufacturing sector

San Antonio, one of four Texas entries in the top 10, headed the large metro list. Check out the rankings and the Milken commentary here.