Northwest Arkansas lands on two influential top 10 lists
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.
- The area also came in as No. 10 on U.S. News' annual best places to live list, down from No. 7 last year.
- Both rankings were published Tuesday.
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.
- In addition to a massive in-the-works campus for Walmart's headquarters, there's a major project under way to develop a new school of medicine.
- Efforts are also in progress to leverage the area's expertise in the transportation and logistics industries and to capitalize on natural amenities for increased outdoor recreation.
💭 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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