May 24, 2023 - News

Provo named America's "best performing" city

A man speaks in front of banners that say "Google" on a rooftop overlooking Provo, Utah with mountains in the background.

A Google representative makes an announcement in Provo in 2013. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Provo continued its near-uninterrupted reign as America's "top-performing city" in annual economic rankings by the Milken Institute nonprofit think tank.

  • Multiple other Utah cities made the list, too.

Driving the news: The Provo-Orem metro ranked No. 1 for economic performance among America's 200 largest cities — a title it has held for six of the last seven years, per a report released last week.

  • That's due to its robust 5-year job and wage growth and a strong network of tech professionals, which is drawing more entrepreneurs.

Yes, but: Utah's tech industry took some hard hits last year, with hundreds of layoffs just before Christmas, and that could pull down Provo's future rankings.

Meanwhile, Logan and St. George ranked No. 2 and No. 3 among the 203 smaller metro areas the report analyzed.

  • Logan got high marks for its growing manufacturing sector and outdoor rec appeal.
  • St. George had strong job and wage growth, particularly in the tech industry — but researchers warned of rising housing costs and diminishing water access as the desert city grows.

Of note: Salt Lake City ranked No. 19 — a big drop from its third-place rank last year as other cities caught up to our short-term job and wage growth.

  • Ogden-Clearfield ranked No. 18, with the nation's 8th-best housing affordability.

Zoom out: Six states — Utah, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, North Carolina, and Texas — accounted for most of the top 10 performing cities of each size category.

Context: Utah's remarkably stable economy goes back decades and is the reason Utah was named the best state in the country in annual rankings released this month by U.S. News and World Reports.

SLC's downtown showed the nation's strongest pandemic recovery — by far — in a recent study comparing cell phone pings this winter to before COVID's arrival in 2019.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Salt Lake City.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Salt Lake City stories

No stories could be found

Salt Lake Citypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Salt Lake City.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more