Jumping up 11 spots from last, Tyler posed a “solid improvement,” the report, found at www.milkeninstitute.com, states.
“The gain resulted from higher short-term employment and wage growth and better performance in the technology sector. Service industries and public agencies are the cornerstones of the local economy.”
The Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank based in California, released its annual list of Best Performing Cities for 2012. The index surveyed the nation’s 200 large and 179 smaller metropolitan areas and looks at job growth, salary growth and the number of high-tech industries in the area to determine its rankings.
“Over the past 20 years, Tyler has worked hard to develop a more diverse economy,” Tom Ellis, chairman of the Tyler Economic Development Council, said. “We think this national ranking shows the success we have had in that effort.”
Six of the small cities in last year’s Top 10 stayed there in the latest rankings. Logan, Utah, claimed first place again, followed by Morgantown, W.Va., which moved up from third last year.
Texas held four of the Top 10 slots. Tyler came in at No. 9, jumping from No. 20 in 2011, while Longview ranked sixth, up from ninth last year. Odessa and Midland ranked fourth and eighth, respectively.
Tom Mullins, president and chief executive officer of the Tyler Economic Development Council, said Tyler generally ranks in the top 50 of the annual study.
Mullins believes Tyler did well for its growth in technology jobs, particularly in communications.
“The trend in telecommunications output is impressive — up 77 percent in a five-year period and 10 percent in one year,” the report states. “Therefore, Tyler can boast an enhanced concentration in these industries and stronger technology indicators.”
The report listed Tyler’s assets as it being the health care hub of East Texas, its diversified economy anchored by service and public sectors and its high growth in telecommunications. The city’s liabilities were that its manufacturing industry is shrinking due to relocations, the report states.
Because of its three primary regional hospitals within Tyler, along with numerous supporting facilities and specialty hospitals, it is the medical hub of East Texas, according to the report. Health care services and government represent 35.1 percent of local employment between them, adding more than 4,000 jobs from 2006 to 2011.
Until recently, rebounding retail and expanding energy contributed to job growth as well, the report states. As the population of Tyler rises, demand for health care and retail goods will likely continue to increase.
“Tyler’s Industry Growth Initiative is all about creating jobs and an innovation economy that will maintain the tremendous quality of life that our community enjoys,” Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass said. “This commitment to focus on our unique strengths is paying off.”