Space Coast Ranks 2nd on 2021 Best Performing Areas in Milken Institute report

The Utah city of Provo is the best performing large city in the United States, according to a new report by the Milken Institute that emphasizes jobs, wages and high-tech growth while factoring in housing costs and access to broadband internet.

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The next four best performing cities:

Titusville, Florida;

Austin, Texas;

Salt Lake City;

Raleigh, North Carolina.

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These Top Cities in Milken’s index aren’t the expected economic hubs like New York or Los Angeles but rather smaller metropolitan areas with considerable access to tech jobs, according to the nonprofit think tank’s analysts.

“Our view is that tech jobs are more sustainable and higher paying,” according to Kevin Klowden, executive director for the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics. “Cities that have more of those jobs tend to be more sustaining in terms of the rankings.”

In 2018, cruises from the region’s port, Cape Canaveral, generated $1.3 billion in tourism expenditures in Central Florida. However, cruise operations have been suspended since mid-March and are not expected to resume until at least 2021. They are unlikely to return to full operations for some time.

The port has since reduced its staff by 40 percent, including 68 permanent layoffs, and is anticipating a $36.6 million loss in 2020-21. Despite this, employment has only fallen 1.5 percent in the short-term, and recovery is a matter of time and combatting the virus.

The Milken Institute says the Space Coast could stand to improve its housing affordability, however. While 70 percent of all households spent less than 30 percent of their income on housing in 2019, rents and median home sales have increased in recent years, highlighting a need to build low-income, affordable housing today.

Additionally, continued investment in attracting and growing an educated workforce would also ensure greater economic opportunity for residents and supply of talent for industry partners.

In 2019, only 30.4 percent of the population aged 25 or older had a bachelor’s degree, about 3 percentage points less than the national average.

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