The Milken Institute, a nonpartisan economic think tank, uses an index to grade communities on measures that include job growth, wage growth and growth of high-tech industries within metropolitan areas. The Space Coast shares 2020's top 10 list for big cities with major metros like San Francisco, Seattle and Austin, Texas.
The Space Coast jumped 47 spots from its 2018 ranking. This year, it ranked fifth for job growth over the past 12 months.
In the report, the Milken Institute writes that the Space Coast’s performance stems from its growing high-tech industries in the aerospace and defense sectors, along with its attractive weather and the location of Port Canaveral. However, the Space Coast is vulnerable because some of its largest industries — defense, tourism and health care — are vulnerable to recessions, according to the report.
Diversifying the economy and deepening the local talent pool would make the area less prone to recessions, the report states.
Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive officer of Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, said in a news release that the Space Coast’s appearance on the list shows how far the area has come since the end of the shuttle program and the 2008 recession.
“Judging by the company we keep, including communities with much-larger populations, Brevard County is now considered one of the elite metropolitan economies in the nation," Weatherman said.
Milken’s 2020 top 10 best performing large metro areas:
- San Francisco area
- Provo-Orem area, Utah
- Austin, Texas
- Reno, Nevada
- Tie between Orlando & San Jose, California
- Boise City, Idaho
- Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville area