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D.C. Area Ranks No. 5 on Best-Performing Cities List

New study ranks cities based on jobs and economic growth.

The Washington, D.C., area ranked No. 5 in the Milken Institute's annual "Best-Performing Cities" index for 2012. That's up from No. 17 in 2011.

The Milken Institute, a think tank located in Santa Monica, CA, bases its rankings on how well metropolitan areas do at creating and sustaining jobs.

The top five cities in the 2012 report are:

  • San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA
  • Austin/Round Rock/San Marcos, TX
  • Raleigh/Cary, NC
  • Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, TX
  • Washington, DC/Arlington/Alexandria, VA

Milken compiles the ratings based on nine metrics:

  • 5-year job growth
  • 1-year job growth
  • 5-year wage/salary growth
  • 1-year wage/salary growth
  • short-term job growth
  • 5-year relative high-tech Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
  • 1-year relative high-tech Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth
  • high-tech GDP location quotient
  • number of high-tech industries with GDP

The first five factors carry double the weight of the last four in Milken's ranking system.

The DC area's ranking has been somewhat of a roller coaster over the past decade, placing No. 19 in 2003, No. 11 in 2004, No. 7 in 2005, then falling out of the Top 20 until ranking No. 6 in 2010, then falling to No. 17 in 2011.

Its high ranking of No. 5 in 2012 was "anchored by steady federal spending" and "strong growth in high-tech output," according to a news statement from the Milken Institute.

View a full interactive map of historical ranking data on the Milken's Institute's  website.

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