Olympia-Tumwater Metro Area No. 9 in Milken Institute City Performance Ranking
Excerpt from South Sound Business:
The Olympia-Tumwater metropolitan area ranked No. 9 among 200 large cities in the 2024 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index released this week, up 33 spots from Milken’s 2023 ranking. The metro area ranked No. 28 in Milken’s 2022 index.
The 2024 ranking placed the metro area in Tier 1 of Milken’s five tiers, with Tier 1 the highest-ranked cities and Tier 5 the lowest-ranked cities.
The index — published annually since 1999 by the Milken Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank — reflects cities’ effectiveness at leveraging their resources to promote economic growth and provide residents with access to the essential services and infrastructure needed for success, according to a Milken news release about the rankings out this week.
The index is based on job creation, wage growth, and the high-tech sector’s output growth, in addition to measures of access to economic opportunities, such as housing affordability and broadband coverage. Recognizing the importance of sustainable and equitable growth, the 2024 index also includes metrics of communities’ ability to respond to economic and natural disasters and income inequality, the release added.
Elsewhere in the Puget Sound region, the Tacoma-Lakewood metropolitan area ranked No. 83 among large cities, placing it in Tier 3. Its 2023 ranking was a big jump from No. 138 in 2023 and No. 131 in 2022.
This year’s top-performing cities had several common themes, according to Milken’s news release. Those were a vigorous and growing high-tech sector, rebounding leisure and hospitality sectors, and community resilience. Simultaneously, housing supply and affordability was a concern among most top-performing cities. The report also noted that cities that offer higher wages and lower costs of living remain attractive to younger workers.
Olympia ranks high in another report
Also this week, the Thurston Economic Development Council reported that the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater metro area ranked No. 2 national for economic strength in a recent study by Chmura Analytics reported in Area Development magazine.
“Thurston County’s No. 2 ranking is a testament to the success of our local partnerships and initiatives, reinforcing our commitment to sustaining a robust economy that benefits everyone,” the EDC said in recapping the findings as part of its Weekly Digest report.
The ranking looked at metrics that included workforce and the gaps between employer needs and workforce readiness, metrics such as GDP trends, and performance of R&D, technology, and STEM fields, the EDC said.