GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The city of Grants Pass ranked highly on an influential think tank's annual round-up of the best-performing cities in the U.S. this year, coming in second on the Milken Institute's 2020 lineup of small cities.
Grants Pass was beaten only by another Oregon metropolitan area, Bend-Redmond, on the chart. It beat out other up-and-coming northwestern cities like Coeur d'Alene and Idaho Falls, Idaho, as well as Bellingham, Washington.
The Milken Insititute is a non-partisan, nonprofit economic instutition that has been releasing these rankings since 1999. The annual report tracks the economic performance of cities using job data, wages and salary, and gross domestic product.
In 2018, the city of Medford cracked the top 10 of the Best-Performing Small Cities index, which was a good sign to local entrepreneurs. This year Medford came in at number 12, while Albany ranked at 19, and Corvalis at 42.
However, Grants Pass shot up the chart this year, gaining 21 rankings from the 2019 index.
Cities with a large presence of health care, retirees, and tourism saw major gains on this year's #BestPerformingCities Index, including @KingstonNYgov and @HOTSPRINGSGOV, which both climbed over 50 spots on the list. https://t.co/EJQJfSXBGk pic.twitter.com/EaSUPl16Ct
— Milken Institute (@MilkenInstitute) March 3, 2020
According to the City of Grants Pass, the study that built the Milken Institute's index measured each city in nine different categories encompassing growth in jobs, wages, salaries, and technology output over a period of five years.
For jobs and technology output, figures from 2013 to 2018 were taken into account — and for wages and salaries, statistics from 2012 to 2017 were used to adjust for variations in business cycles. The report also incorporated the latest available year’s performance in these areas, as well as a measure of 12-month job growth over the past year to capture recent progress.
Six of the top ten Best-Performing Small Cities were deemed to be retiree communities where those demographics not only “benefit medical centers, but they also provide their communities with stable high-wage employment,” paired with tourism industries focused on “outdoor recreation,” according to the report.