Perhaps that famous photo illustration should read, "Everything's bigger—and better!—in Texas." Lone Star cities, led by Austin (#1) and Ft. Hood (#2), lassoed nine of the top 16 spots on this year's Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners Best-Performing Cities Index, which ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs.
Why Texas? For one, many of its residents work in the oil, gas, and alternative energy sectors, which in recent months have proved considerably more stable than, say, finance. (Sorry, New York City.) And Austin, home of Web mecca South by Southwest, received a special shout-out for its strong tech industry. Tack on Texas' uncanny ability to lure workers and corporations away from higher-cost states—every day, about 1,000 people move there seeking jobs—and it's no wonder Milken gave kudos.
"In a period of recession," says Ross DeVol, Milken's director of regional economics and lead author of the report, "the index highlights metros that have adapted to weather the storm. As we move forward in a recovery that still lacks jobs, metros will be further tested in their ability to sustain themselves."
Of course, the news wasn't all good. Biggest losers Pensacola, Florida, (down 124 spots, to #157) and Merced, California, (down 111 spots, to #184) were hit hard by the housing meltdown, which took a heavy toll on their construction sectors. And several Michigan cities, such as Flint (#200) and Detroit (#199), stalled alongside the U.S. auto industry.
Check out the full report, including lots more data and an interactive U.S. map, here.
[Image via Café Press]