America's Best Performing Cities: Melbourne-Palm Bay-Titusville Is No. 1
Florida metropolitan areas dominate the Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Index, and Melbourne-Palm Bay-Titusville claims the top spot. The Best Performing Cities index is outcome-based. Its components measure job, wage and salary, and technology growth.
The index ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs. It includes both long-term (five years) and short-term (one year) measurements of employment and salary growth. There are also four measurements of technology output growth, which are included because of technology's crucial role in regional economic growth.
The 2005 Index's top three metro areas are in Florida, led by this year's top-ranked metro, Melbourne-Palm Bay-Titusville, followed by last year's top scorer, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, and Naples-Marco Island, in third place.
The 2005 winners have similar characteristics: strong and growing service sectors, a robust recovery in tourism, growing populations and an increase in the number of retirees. The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville area has a diversified economy with many aerospace and defense-related industries, as well as space-related tourism and a growing number of retirees.
"The state is creating jobs at a prodigious rate," said Ross DeVol, the Milken Institute's director of Regional Economics and the report's lead author. "It has all the makings of a job-creating machine: good weather, low costs, a growing population, a strong tourism industry and little heavy manufacturing."
About the Institute: The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, independent economic think tank whose mission is to improve the lives and economic conditions of diverse populations around the world by helping business and public policy leaders identify and implement innovative ideas for creating broad-based prosperity. It is based in Santa Monica, CA.
The top 10 performers (with 2004 ranking in parentheses) of the 200 largest metros: