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Robert Trigaux

Tampa Bay ranks in bottom half of "best performing cities" ranked by Milken Institute




Good grief. What happened to Lakeland in this economic ranking?

Wake up and good morning. A new ranking of the nation's "best performing cities" 0f 2012 based on job growth, wages and technology performance puts well know places like San Jose, Calif., at No. 1 followed by No. 2 Austin, Texas, No. 3 Raleigh, N.C., No. 4 Houston and No. 5 Washington, D.C., at the top of this annual list assembled by the Milken Institute. The top 200 cities and 179 smaller cities are ranked.

Let's cut to the chase. How did Florida cities fare? No major city in Florida made it to the top 100. But let's look closer:

Florida metro area, 2012 rank vs 2011 rank:

Naples-Marco Island, 113 vs. 193: That's an impressive 80 spot jump in the rankings in one year, driven by recent job growth.

Jacksonville, 121 vs. 134: Up 13 spots.

Orlando, 124 vs. 96: What happened? Orlando fell 28 spots while most major Florida cities gained.

Miami, 131 vs. 141: Driven mostly by job growth in the past year.

Tampa Bay, 138 vs. 153: A 15-spot gain but lagging behind other large metro areas in state.

Pensacola, 163 vs. 73: Watch out below! Actual job losses threw this metro area off the cliff with a 90-spot decline.


What's helping and hindering Tampa Bay? Here are the component measures used to come up with Tampa Bay's 138th ranking in 2012:

5-year job growth? Weak (duh), ranking 171st among 200 cities.

1-year (2010-2011) job growth? Good news, ranking 40th among 200 cities, and an indicator of momentum for 2013.

5-year wages and salary growth? Atrocious, ranking 165th of 200.

1 year (2009-2010) wages and salary growth? Still lousy, ranking 160th of 200, so the "new" jobs don't pay much.

1-year (5/11 to 5/12) job growth by percentage? Up 1.67 percent, ranking a commendable 66th of 200.

5-year high-tech sector job growth? Weak at 166th of 200.

1-year high-tech job growth? Little progress at 160th of 200.

Concentration of high tech? Slightly below average but still good enough for 67th among 200.

Number of high-tech industries that are "concentrated" in area? Tampa Bay had seven for an impressive 47th of 200.

* Here's some scary insight: What cities ranked dead last of the 200 ranked? Look at how many are in Florida: Tallahassee at 192, down from 126; Fort Myers at 193, up (yay?) from 200; Ocala, 194, down from 183; Port St. Lucie at 195, plummeting from 140; and at the very bottom... Lakeland at 200, down from 186 and lagging badly in almost every category. Ouch

Bottom line? Unlike many "best places" rankings, this one ignores stuff like housing costs and commuting times and focuses on employment and wage growth, and their sustainability.

IN Tampa Bay, we're doing better on job growth, finally. But we have almost no wage growth. That's the Achilles Heel in Florida Gov. Rick Scott's 2-dimensional strategy of adding jobs -- any jobs -- to the state and calling this economy a success.

Read the full Milken Institute report here.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times








[Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 7:55am]


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