Raleigh has climbed higher up a list of the nation’s top cities for creating and keeping quality jobs, and N.C. State University is given significant credit for the city’s economic success.
The Raleigh Metropolitan Statistical Area ranked 2nd on the list of best-performing cities for 2017, according to the Milken Institute, a California think tank. The City of Oaks climbed four spots from the No. 6 ranking it held in both 2015 and 2016.
The index of top cities is designed to show how metro areas stand relative to others in the nation in terms of economic vitality. It measures growth in terms of jobs, wages, salaries and technology output, with an emphasis on employment growth.
The Provo-Orem, Utah area –home to Brigham Young University – topped the list after a second-place ranking in 2016.
Raleigh and No. 3 Plano-Irving, Texas, offer more welcoming business climates and lower costs than coastal tech cities, the report said. “Raleigh’s research and development-driven industries” contributed to its rise.
The report notes that while the Triangle is home to several major universities, N.C. State was the only local school to place in the top 25 of Milken’s 2017 index of the best universities for technology transfer and commercialization.
“The university’s Centennial Campus, which now houses more than 75 research centers and academic departments alongside a similar number of private, nonprofit, and government partners, expands the ability of academics and industry to collaborate and innovate,” the report says of N.C. State. “Through co-op and internship programs, the school creates strong ties to local industry, and tightens the relationship between curriculum and career by introducing students early to real-world applications and challenges.”
The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area was the only other North Carolina MSA to make the top 25. Charlotte came in 13th, dropping one spot from its 2016 ranking.
Wilmington ranked 35th, an improvement of 19 spots from 2016, and Asheville ranked 65th, up seven spots.
The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area saw the third-most improvement among large cities, from a rank of 167 in 2016 to 103 in 2017.
Durham-Chapel Hill (ranked 106th) dropped 21 spots, Winston-Salem (121st) dropped 17, and Greensboro-High Point (142nd) fell 21 spots from 2016.
Fayetteville rounded out North Carolina’s entries in the top-200 best performing large cities, at 185th.