The Milken Institute’s annual Best-Performing Cities index for 2016 shows that Tallahassee continues to occupy the bottom 50 of the 200 largest cities in the United States when it comes to economic performance.
The Best-Performing Cities index, compiled since 1999, uses a comprehensive, fact-based set of criteria to rank 200 large and 201 small metros across the United States. As an outcomes-based index, growth in employment, wages and technology output are heavily weighted; metrics such as cost-of-living and quality-of-life conditions, often highly subjective, are not included.
The Tallahassee MSA came in at 172 in 2016 down from 158 in 2015.
The 2016 rankings for the Florida cities included in the study are shown below.
The table shows the 17 cities with the respective rankings for 2015 and 216 with the ranking change. Over the last two years, Tallahassee has ranked last when compared to other Florida cities.
Robert Trigaux, the business writer for the Tamp Bay Times recently wrote about Tampa’s favorable rankings:
Why do we care if we are 33rd this year? Because the trajectory has been up seven years straight. These are not static changes. Every one of those 200 metro areas is striving to do better, to out-compete its peers.
Rising so quickly as Tampa Bay has is testament to the improved Florida economy but also points to the local efforts at economic gains achieved over time.
Tampa Bay’s ranking this year is the highest it has been since 2005, when this metro market ranked 25th by Milken in that year’s metro survey.
That’s an impressive comeback, one that underpins the growing confidence in this metro area’s broader business community. Unemployment is down. Tourism remains strong. A construction boom is under way from the downtowns of St. Petersburg and Tampa to southern Hillsborough north to Wesley Chapel.
And new companies with major league names like Johnson & Johnson and Citigroup are expanding here while up-and-coming area firms from CareSync and BlueGrace Logistics are winning strong investment backing and aggressively adding jobs.
Tallahassee’s position at the bottom of the Milken Institute’s rankings has not always been the case. From 2002 through 2007 Tallahassee was ranked in the top 100, reaching 28 in 2003. From 2008 through 2011 Tallahassee managed to stay in the top 125. However, in 2012 Tallahassee began to majorly slide down in the rankings.
In 2012 Tallahassee moved from 126 in 2011 to a ranking of 192. This was followed by a rankings of 194 in 2013, 194 in 2014, 158 in 2015 and 172 in the latest rankings.
Mr. Trigaux wrote that Tampa’s gains “points to the local efforts at economic gains achieved over time.”
Given Tallahassee’s recent trend, Tallahassee’s performance over the last ten years should be a wake-up call for local leaders.
About the Milken Institute
The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. It does this through independent, data-driven research, action-oriented meetings and meaningful policy initiatives.