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Best-Performing Metro Areas: Silicon Valley is Tops, Peninsula Cracks Top 40

Job growth in the tech sector is credited for the No. 1 ranking by the Milken Institute.

Tech is back.

That makes the Silicon Valley the No. 1 place to live in the country, according to the Milken Institute's annual index of the best-performing metro areas in the United States.

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara leapt 50 positions from last year's index to be the top-rated large city. It hasn't been No. 1 since 2001.

And coming in at #36 is San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City.

The Best-Performing Cities index, released earlier this month, focuses on the economic strength of communities. It includes measures of job, wage, and technology performance to rank the nation’s 200 large metropolitan areas and 179 smaller metros over a 5-year period. Employment growth is rated most heavily. Rankings are purely economical and do not include quality-of-life elements, such as commute times or housing costs.

San Jose’s economic growth helps the region improve, according to the Milken Institute. One tech sector job creates five more positions in other industries.

“People expect tech to be one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy, and it was,” Ross DeVol, chief research officer of the Milken Institute and one of the report’s authors, said in a prepared statement.

Other California metro areas to make the top-100 included:

  • #19 Bakersfield-Delano
  • #36 San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City
  • #66 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta
  • #73 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
  • #95 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale

Overall, the Milken rankings found tech hubs to be on the upswing and that some manufacturing communties—especially in the northern Midwest—were experiencing a resurgence of economic activity.

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