New study shows Atlanta and Savannah metro areas tumbling on list of “Best-Performing Cities”

The Milken Institute publishes an annual list of Best-Performing Cities.

Here’s the summary of the results in this year’s list:

Leaders in this year’s index, which ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs, are cities that most benefited from renewed investment in business equipment; have diversified technology bases, which also drive growth in business and professional services; are exposed to America’s booming energy sector; and are home to a large military presence.

And here’s more on the criteria:

The 2011 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. The components include job, wage and salary, and technology growth. In most years, these give a good indication of the underlying structural performance of regional economics.

Given the year-over-year job losses in Georgia and in some of the state’s metro areas, it’s no surprise that several of the state’s cities, especially Atlanta and Savannah, fared badly in this year’s list.

For each metro area, I’ll put the 2011 rank followed by the 2010 rank in parentheses. Let’s start with the list of the 200 largest metro areas. Losers in red, gainers in green.

Metro area 2011 (2010)
Columbus 29 (45)
Savannah 70 (40)
Augusta-Richmond 77 (71)
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta 145 (126)

And here’s the national rank of smaller metro areas:

Warner Robbins 11 (18)
Hinesville-Fort Stewart 29 (5)
Athens-Clarke County 55 (32)
Valdosta 98 (61)
Gainesville 101 (107)

In terms of job growth for 2005 to 2010, Savannah ranks 56 on the list of the largest 200 metro areas. But in terms of one-year job growth from 2009 to 2010, Savannah tumbled to 128. In the latest data from the Ga. Dept. of Labor, Savannah has lost 2600 jobs in the last year, so we’d almost certainly be much farther down the list if it were absolutely current.

Atlanta ranks 116 in the five-year measure and 153 in the one-year measure.

Georgia desperately needs some new and improved strategies for spurring economic growth.