Thursday, October 04, 2007

Houston moving on up list of Best Performing Cities

The Milken Institute recently released their 2007 list of Best Performing Cities, based mostly on job and salary growth, and Houston has moved on up from #129 to #32 out of 200 cities since 2005. 32 may not sound great, but that's partly a reflection of them focusing on job growth, and, on a percentage basis, it's very hard for a mega-city like Houston to compete with fast-growing smaller cities. The move up of 97 places is the fourth biggest move in the list, and the most of any large city, behind 3 small cities under 500,000 people each.

When you rank the metros by population, we're the #3 performer out of the 25 largest. Only Phoenix and Riverside-SB rank higher, and their data is before the real estate bust, where they are two of the hardest hit cities. I would expect them to fall sharply in future rankings. On the other hand, since their 5-year block of data includes only the early part of the oil boom, I would expect us to keep moving up strongly in future rankings.

Here are a couple Houston excerpts from the report:
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown has experienced tremendous post-Katrina population growth. Industries that support the energy sector, such as fabricated metal and related machinery manufacturing, have also been positively affected.
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, moves up to 3rd place among the ten largest metropolitan economies, a jump from 8th last year. Even more impressive, Houston leaped ninety-seven spots among the 200 largest metros, to 32nd overall in 2007. The resurgence in oil and gas markets has increased demand for its world-class energy exploration firms. A surge in international demand for oil exploration equipment is propelling fabricated metals and machinery, and the attendant engineering services. Houston’s economic expansion accelerated in 2006 as jobs rose by 4.1 percent. The quality of the jobs generated in the energy exploration sector is manifest in the 9.0 percent gain in personal income in 2006. Some of the growth is attributable to payouts to Katrina victims. International trade is booming through its port, and related logistic support functions are the beneficiaries. The first phase of the new Bayport Container Terminal will increase container processing capacity significantly. Houston has a low cost of living, favorable business costs, and a pro-business culture that aids economic development. Strong job growth, coupled with only a modest increase in new home construction over the past few years, will mitigate potential fallout from the housing retrenchment. Houston has an important medical research and delivery presence with MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, and several prominent hospital groups.
You can play with sorting the rankings yourself here, or check out the full report here.

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At 3:31 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Interesting. I wonder why they do not publish a version of their report using PMSAs / CSAs?

Their study gives Dallas a population of only 4 million, which I am not used to seeing, but using an MSA vs. a PMSA for Houston does not seem to change the population much from the figures I am used to seeing.

The populations for Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, and NY are way lower than you would typically see them:


At 3:54 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I suspect they went with the smallest reasonable census units (MSAs/MDs) so that places could see how they're performing independently from their expanded metro: FW separate from Dallas, OC and RSB separate from LA, SJ from SF, Baltimore from DC, FtL from Miami, Newark from NYC, etc.

At 4:09 PM, October 05, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Right - but you would think they could easily sum up and publish the data for the CSA / PMSA for those that prefer to look at the larger metro area statistics.

When people compare Dallas and Houston, for instance, I generally assume that they are comparing the DFW Metroplex to Houston - including Galveston area, etc.

You could still look at the MSA data if you preferred that, but given the sprawl of most cities these days, I do not think it is as useful as looking at PMSA / CSA data.

At 4:14 PM, October 05, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trackback -

At 12:16 PM, October 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently visited a much talked about big city area. To me, the place felt stagnated and seemed homogeneous and monotonous. Even though it was very crowded and all the land filled up, there was very little construction going on. When I visit Houston I sense energy and vitality, construction cranes all over town and different types of buildings all over the place, all kinds of people from around the world.


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