Job seekers take heed, the best cities to find work may be in Texas. The Milken Institute, a nonpartisan economic think tank, released its annual Best Performing Cities Index earlier this week, and the Lone Star state dominated the rankings. Cities in the index were ranked based on how well they create and foster jobs, and the data used in the assessment reflected both long- and short-term measurements of employment, wage/salary, and technological growth.
Texas, it turns out, accounted for four of the top five cities in the report. The study's authors suggested that the Texas metropolitan areas ranked so well due to their resources and technology sector, in addition to the "state's favorable business climate and its ability to attract jobs and corporations away from higher-cost states":
Regional economic factors also strongly influenced the rankings this year, with the oil and gas sector, technology and alternative energy providing stability among metros in Texas, North Carolina, Washington and Louisiana, which also benefited from low dependence on housing/construction. Austin in particular has been helped by its strong tech industry. It is the first metro to ever be ranked number one twice on the index, the last time being in 2000.
For many of the cities, performing well this year was a matter of sidestepping the worst pitfalls of the recession in order to maintain the status quo. From the report:
"'Best performing' sometimes means retaining what you have," said Ross DeVol, director of Regional Economics and lead author of the report. "In a period of recession, the index highlights metros that have adapted to weather the storm. As we move forward in a recovery that still lacks jobs, metros will be further tested in their ability to sustain themselves."
The rankings, however, aren't necessarily definitive. Does your city appear on the list? Which city would you rather live -- and work -- in? Check out our photos and vote below: