Seattle Jumps to 8th place on Milken’s “Best Performing Cities” report
February 6, 2019
Every year, The Milken Institute releases a Best-Performing Cities study that ranks United States metro cities in order of what Milken has determined as a Best-Performing Cities Index. Metrics studied include job growth, wage and salary growth, and high-tech GDP growth. This year, Seattle returns to the top 10 list after a fall to 17th last year.
Due to the thriving tech industry, the Seattle metro area rose from a ranking of 17th to 8th in only a year. Milken attributes this to the large growth in wages and salary Seattle has seen, which is attributed to our recent tech boom. Amazon and Microsoft offer high-paying jobs, boosting the city’s wage growth average. However, we may see a change as Amazon's east coast headquarters develop and attract talent away from Seattle. Another reason Seattle moved up the rankings was the University of Washington’s research output. Milken includes quality of research and technology output as metrics, and the University of Washington saw a significant positive growth in research and development.
Though the city ranks high this year, the potential to fall next year is present due to the increasing rent prices and decreasing availability of real estate and affordable housing. To combat this, Microsoft just released a press release promising to contribute $500 million to help solve the affordable housing problem, the largest contribution ever given by the company.
The state of the economy in Seattle continues to fluctuate as tech giants grow while the availability of commercial and residential real estate continues to diminish. The contribution from Microsoft has the potential to change Seattle in great positive ways, but the path before us remains to be seen.
Milken's 10 Best-Performing U.S. Cities (along with previous year's rank)
Provo-Orem, Utah (1)
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California (11)
Austin-Round Rock, Texas (9)
San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, California (4)