Raleigh once again is ranked sixth in the nation – and tops in the state – in the latest study of the best cities for creating and keeping quality jobs.
“The key distinguishing feature of Raleigh is that it’s a magnet for talent,” said Ross DeVol, co-author of the report issued Wednesday by the Milken Institute, a California think thank. “Given the diversity of its tech industry, it’s been a perennial top performer.”
Raleigh’s latest ranking in the large-city category was unchanged from last year’s report on the nation’s “best-performing cities.”
The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area was ranked No. 12 on this year’s list, up one spot from 2015. Durham slid 19 places, coming in at No. 85 on this year’s list. Fayetteville jumped 13 spots to No. 180.
Earlier this year, Money Magazine named Raleigh the Best Big City to Live In in the Southeast.
Raleigh ranked among the top 20 in seven of the nine indices that Milken considered, including wage growth and five-year job growth. Its highest ranking was for the diversity of its high-tech industries, where it ranked second.
The bulk of the data used for this year’s report focuses on data from 2015, and on prior years in instances in which five-year trends were assessed. That was before House Bill 2, which which requires people in government facilities to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates, was passed by the legislature and became law in March.
The new law triggered a national backlash and prompted companies such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank to drop plans to expand in the state.
But the report did take into account job growth for the 12-month period that ended in August, which would include the initial impact of HB 2. Although Raleigh ranked 48th in this category – by far its worst ranking among the key indices Milken studied – that marked an improvement from last year’s report, when Raleigh ranked 68th.
“What really helps Raleigh is the high quality of the jobs that are created,” Devol said. “These are high-paying jobs. Raleigh typically does much better on the wage growth than it does on the job growth.”
Raleigh ranked 12th among the cities for wage growth over five years.
Raleigh added 5,600 computer and electronic product manufacturing jobs over the past five years, “doubling employment at a time when employment in the sector declined in the majority of metros,” the report notes. “However, layoffs announced at Cisco in August 2016 may indicate an end to this momentum.”
San Jose ranked first in the Milken report for the second consecutive year.