May 17, 2023 - Business

Northwest Arkansas lands on two influential top 10 lists

Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

The Northwest Arkansas metropolitan statistical area again is on two lists for best places to live and work.

Yes, but: The area has slipped slightly in rankings.

Driving the news: The Milken Institute, a nonprofit think tank, placed NWA as No. 9 on its annual best-performing cities list, down one spot from a year earlier.

What they did: Milken's ranking reflects cities' effectiveness at leveraging resources to promote economic growth and provide residents with access to essential services and infrastructure.

  • U.S. News ranks cities on quality of life, desirability, job market and "value," which includes housing affordability.

What they're saying: "Despite the presence of Fortune 500 companies, [the Northwest Arkansas metropolitan statistical area] lags in the development of the high-tech sector," the Milken report reads.

  • The metro ranks 184th among large cities in high-tech GDP, the report points out.
  • It may prove difficult for [NWA] to join the ranks of the regional financial hubs without more large high-tech industries in the area, it states.

Reality check: Northwest Arkansas and its entrepreneurs experienced a dramatic increase in investment capital during 2022.

💭 Worth's thought bubble: Some of these may qualify as "high-tech" in the future, but the more likely scenario is a mix of industries driving NWA's economy in the long term.


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