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Which cities are US power plants now? They are not what you would expect

The complete settlement Where influential people want to live and work was one of the most unexpected effects of the pandemic. While people were leaving expensive coastal cities like San Francisco and New York en masse, there was an influx of people in smaller cities across the country looking for cheaper rents and a less dense neighborhood.

The Milken Institute Top Performing Cities Indices annual ranking Of the country’s power plant cities, a phenomenon was solidifying that continued well into 2020: San Francisco, which took the top spot in 2019, was not on the list at all that year, while Provo, Utah, rose to first place.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cities’ economic performance over the past year has varied widely, as economic shutdowns to contain the spread of the virus were only fully implemented in early pandemic hotspots like New York, Massachusetts and California, during the summer and fall Hotspots largely maintained normal activity, ”the report said.

Below is the full list of the top power plant cities in the US this year:

Huntsville, Alabama. Image via Shutterstock.

Huntsville, Alabama:

The second largest city in Alabama was on the list of power plants for the first time this year, largely due to steady pre-pandemic employment growth (12.5 percent between 2014-2019) and wage growth (28.3 percent between 2014-2019) .

Huntsville is home to several major universities, the Army’s Red Stone Arsenal Post and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Despite the uncertainty that rocked much of the country over the past year, Huntsville has maintained a stable job market.

“Huntsville has built a solid infrastructure base for growth. It is in the top 10 one-year (eighth) and five-year (sixth) indicators of housing affordability and 40th for broadband access,” the report said .

Ogden, Utah:

Ogden, a small mountain town 40 miles outside of Salt Lake City, jumped from 22nd place on the list in 2019 to eighth place in 2020. Like Huntsville, the jump has mostly been with large employers (universities, Hill Air Force Base) to do stability for local families before the pandemic. Jobs grew 16.6 percent between 2014 and 2019, while wages rose 34.3 percent over the same period.

“Ogden, Utah, took a big jump from 22nd place to ninth overall in the past year, largely due to improvements in employment and wage growth indicators,” the report said.

“Ogden-Clearfield, in particular, moved up to second place in short-term job growth, one of only a handful of large cities (and the only Tier 1 city) to have positive job growth in the past 12 months.”

Nashville, Tennessee:

Another unexpected event was Tennessee’s Capital, which dwarfed growing jobs (19.1 percent between 2014 and 2019) and low cost of living. Wages rose 38.1 percent between 2014 and 2019, and although most of the economic relocations occurred before the pandemic, the slower quality of life has led many to move there in 2020.

“The emerging technology sector in Nashville offers high-paying jobs to the region, and businesses are drawn to a business-friendly environment, low cost of living and business, a quality talent pool, and high quality of life and natural amenities,” the report said.

Joe Cook on Unsplash

Phoenix, Arizona:

For years, Phoenix has topped the list of the fastest growing cities in the country – the number of jobs rose 17.6 percent between 2014 and 2019, while wages rose 34.2 percent over the same period.

Although house values ​​are responding and rising accordingly to the economic boom, the city continues to attract a healthy balance between economic actors and people looking for a more affordable place to start life.

“The metro continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, including great one-year jobs (sixth) and wage growth (15th),” the report said. “Phoenix also improved its high-tech GDP concentration five places (47th), while its seven high-tech industries rank 37th, indicating a deepening high-tech economy.”

Boise, Idaho:

Idaho’s capital jumped from seventh in 2019 to sixth in 2020 – employment growth has been steady (up 22.1 percent between 2014 and 2019) while wages are rising much faster than the rest of the country (40, 8 percent between 2014 and 2019)).

While the economy may not be as booming as Phoenix or Austin, the relatively low cost of living has steadily drawn people both before and during the pandemic.

“However, this recent popularity has increased housing costs and somewhat detracted from the city’s appeal,” the report said. “The median house price has risen by more than 80 percent in the last five years.”

Raleigh, North Carolina:

The capital of North Carolina has long drawn people from the South and the Northeast with its diversified economy. Between 2014 and 2019, jobs rose 16.2 percent, while wages rose 45.6 percent at the same time. Although many moved to Raleigh in 2020 to find cheaper housing, the city is heavily reliant on the hotel industry. The pandemic has hit them very hard and could predict a lower rank in the years to come.

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit the research triangle particularly hard. Since October 2019, employment has fallen by 6.1 percent and is in the lower half of the indicator for short-term employment growth (100th), ”the report said. “Unemployment peaked at 11.5 percent in May. Job losses were particularly concentrated in the hospitality, education and health services sectors.”

Salt Lake City. Photo credit: Brent Pace | EyeEm, Getty Images

Salt Lake City, Utah:

Throughout the pandemic, Salt Lake City has topped the list of cities that attract people who want to move and survive the pandemic. Although employment growth (15.5 percent between 2014-2019) and wage growth (36 percent between 2014-2019) predated the pandemic, the affordable homes and proximity to many world-class ski resorts and natural wonders have proven to be a remarkably profitable combination, too in 2020.

“The region saw steady employment growth – 3 percent growth for one year (11th) and 15.5 percent for five years (28th) – in a number of sectors,” the report said. “Most notably, SLC has a regional hub for technology, finance and professional services.”

Austin, Texas:

As the best-known liberal enclave in Texas, Austin has attracted young professionals and entrepreneurs from both coasts because of its relative affordability. Employment growth rose 20.9 percent between 2014 and 2019, while wages rose an astonishing 47.4 percent over the same period.

Although all of Texas has been badly hit by the pandemic, experts believe that the double appeal of low taxes and high quality of life will continue to draw power players for years to come.

“Austin has a relatively low cost of living despite a thriving tech sector and has marketed itself as friendly and open to relocation,” the report said. “Dell, Apple Inc., IBM and Samsung Austin Semiconductor are major employers. 26 and BAE Systems recently announced a new campus in Austin that will create an additional 800 jobs in the city.”

Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Palm Bay, Florida:

It’s not Miami or Fort Lauderdale, but the waterfront city best known for its splash of the same name ranks second on the country’s list of powerhouse cities for a very important reason. Although the pandemic devastated the rest of the state, employment fell only 1.5 percent due to the diversity of jobs in the defense, aerospace and manufacturing industries.

Experts believe that the wide range of jobs will make recovery after the pandemic easier and will continue to attract people to the region in the years to come.

“However, the space coast could improve the affordability of housing,” the report said. “While 70 percent of all households spent less than 30 percent of their income on housing in 2019 (87 in total), rents and average home sales have increased in recent years, underscoring the need to build low-income, affordable housing today . “

Provo, Utah:

Another Utah city to make the list, the sleepy mountain town of Provo, has shot its way to the top of this year’s rankings (it finished second in 2019). Employment growth rose 27.7 percent between 2014 and 2019, while wages rose an astronomical 58.7 percent over the same period.

While the pandemic has disrupted some of this, it has also made Provo a trendy escape destination – a strong job market combined with affordable housing and proximity to nature has proven to be a successful combination throughout the pandemic.

“The subway, which comes first in both one- and five-year employment growth, has improved significantly over the previous year when the city was ninth and third,” the report said. “Provo-Orem also rose to 11th place in short-term job growth from 29th in 2020.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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