A new report out from the Milken Institute that measures cities based on jobs, wages, technology output and other factors places the Seattle metro area in the 6th spot.
Now, while no one will be proclaiming — “Yes! We’re sixth!” — the report does indicate that Seattle is headed in the right direction since it jumped seven spots over last year. Austin, Texas took home the top honors, followed by Provo, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and San Jose.
Interestingly, all of the top 10 cities are west of the Mississippi River.
What’s driving the top performing cities?
Well, two industries — technology and oil & gas.
According to the repot, 13 of the top 25 cities were considered technology hubs. Nine metropolitan areas also got into the top 25 based on the shale oil and gas boom.
Our friends to the east in Spokane also are gaining some good ground. It was one of the top gainers, jumping from #161 in 2012 to #74 in 2013. But Olympia — which fell 93 slots to #170 — and Kennewick-Richland-Pasco — which fell 49 spots to #65 — saw some of the biggest declines.
And what about Portland?
It ranked 21st, jumping two spots in part because of its thriving tech community anchored by Intel’s 15,000 employees in the metro area.
“Growth of the tech sector has been fueled in part by other West Coast-based companies expanding into Portland in search of skilled employees,” the report said.
Meanwhile, here’s what the Milken report had to say about the Seattle region.
SEATTLE-BELLEVUE-EVERETT, WASHINGTON, leaped seven positions
to land at sixth. The resurgence in commercial aircraft manufacturing is driving that performance along with software. Aerospace added nearly 7,000 high-skilled manufacturing jobs in 2011-2012, while software companies added 5,000 jobs over the past five years.
Expansion of the metro’s workforce has increased demand for housing, which will help restore construction jobs. Recent growth in the metro’s high-tech sector has been one of the strongest in the nation at 11th in one-year high-tech GDP growth. Seattle continues to boast one of the highest concentrations of high- tech activity—nearly three times the national average.
With commercial air travel expected to grow over the next couple of decades as emerging nations grow more prosperous, expansion is in the future for Boeing and its 82,000-person workforce in the metro. Local manufacturers like Orion Industries will benefit from the ripple effects as will a number of professional services industries that will help support the industry.
Google will also be expanding its presence in the Seattle area; it recently broke ground on an expansion that will double the size of its current campus by 2015. The Kirkland campus is one of Google’s largest engineering offices outside its California headquarters.