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Top 20 U.S. Metros Poised for Retail Growth

Rankings broken down into 10 large cities and 10 small cities

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Provo, Utah Sean Pavone/iStock

Retailers looking to expand into new geographic markets can find some potential candidates in the Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index, which ranks U.S. cities by such factors as job and wage growth and the presence of a robust high-tech sector. Here are the top-ranked cities from the just-released 2023 version of the report:

Large Cities

  1. Provo–Orem, Utah
  2. Austin–Round Rock, Texas
  3. Raleigh, N.C.
  4. Nashville–Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tenn.
  5. Boise City, Idaho
  6. Dallas–Plano–Irving, Texas
  7. Wilmington, N.C.
  8. Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, Ariz.
  9. Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, Ark./Mo.
  10.  Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, Fla.

Small U.S. cities

  1. Idaho Falls, Idaho
  2. Logan, Utah–Idaho
  3. George, Utah
  4. The Villages, Fla.
  5. Bend–Redmond, Ore.
  6. Punta Gorda, Fla.
  7. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  8. Missoula, Mont.
  9. Sioux Falls, S.D.
  10. Gainesville, Ga.

The Index, published annually since 1999, reflects cities’ effectiveness at leveraging their resources to promote economic growth and provide their residents with access to the essential services and infrastructure needed for success, the institute says. Its components include job creation, wage growth, and the high-tech sector’s output growth. Since 2021, the Index also includes measures of housing affordability and broadband access that reflect access to economic opportunities of cities’ residents.

The 2023 Index and rankings are mainly based on data from 2021, the first full year of recovery following the onset of COVID-19.

“This year’s report shows that U.S. cities continue to drive the nation’s growth despite the pressures created by Covid-19,” said Maggie Switek, Director of Regional Economics in the institute’s Research Department. “Three years after the onset of the pandemic, cities are still the main centers of the nation’s economic activity.”

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