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Tampa Bay ranks No. 15 for best-performing large cities

It isn't just Tampa Bay's skyline that's growing. Tampa Bay ranked No. 15 on the Milken Institute's "Best-performing large cities" list for 2017, up 18 positions from 2016. The region's strength was short-term job growth, with just over a 60 percent increase in jobs added at non-store retailers — 4,900 positions — between 2015 and 2016.

"The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA is known both as a domestic tourism destination and for its concentration of retirees," the study, released this month, said.

Six of the top spots were claimed this year by Florida metro areas. Among the major players and projects that helped bolster Tampa Bay's standing were Tampa International Airport and its ongoing $2 billion renovation, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's $66 million expansion, USAA's ongoing expansions to bring 4,600 new jobs to the area and the slew of major construction projects across the bay.

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