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The Milken Institute placed Northwest Arkansas among the Best-Performing Cities earlier today when it released its newest ranking of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas.

Northwest Arkansas (the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA) sits at No. 30 in a ranking that’s based on each large metropolitan area’s job growth, wage growth, high-tech job growth and high-tech wage growth. San Jose sat at No. 1 overall for the second year in a row.

The institute ranks Northwest Arkansas and 199 other large metropolitan areas separate from smaller ones.

Northwest Arkansas’ strongest performance was in its job growth rate between 2014 and 2015, finishing No. 4 among the large metros. The region finished No. 8 in wage growth from 2013 to 2014, and No. 11 in job growth from 2010 to 2015.

Northwest Arkansas’ overall ranking was better than all large metropolitan statistical areas in Arkansas and in four adjoining state: Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma. No. 7 Nashville in Tennessee and three Texas metros (No. 2 Austin, No. 5 Dallas and No. 24 San Antonio) ranked higher.

In 2015, Milken put Northwest Arkansas at No. 24.

Northwest Arkansas outperformed five “peer regions” identified by the Northwest Arkansas Council in January 2015 as it developed its three-year strategy. The Council benchmarks against those five core metropolitan areas that include Austin, No. 6 Raleigh, No. 62 Des Moines, No. 76 Madison and No. 85 Durham-Chapel Hill.

Arkansas had several metropolitan areas among the hundreds that were evaluated by Milken researchers.

Jonesboro led Arkansas’ small MSAs in the ranking, sitting at No. 26. Hot Springs ranked No. 115; Texarkana was No. 183.

The state has three other large MSAs that include at least portions of Arkansas. They were Memphis (No. 149), Little Rock (No. 168) and Fort Smith (No. 191).

Northwest Arkansas ranked No. 1 overall in the 2003 Milken report.

The Milken Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank that advances innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital, and enhance health.


Special thanks to our major investors for their support of the Northwest Arkansas Council and our work in the region: