POSTED: 11:02 MDT Friday, September 12, 2008
by IBR Staff Report

In a study that ranked 125 small cities, the Milken Institute placed Coeur d’Alene as the No. 2 best performer. The study, released this week, looked at wage and salary growth, job growth and high-tech sector growth. Coeur d’Alene rose from a No. 6 ranking last year, surpassing last year’s No. 1 small city, Bend, Ore. This year’s best-performing small city was Midland, Texas.

The study reported Coeur d’Alene outperformed the national average in job and wage growth (rising 18.8 and 21.8 percent, respectively, between 2002 and 2007). It cited the growth in the tourism industry as an engine of growth, adding 1,800 new jobs in 2007, and called the area an emerging health-care hub.

The study also ranked the best-performing large metro areas. Boise came in at No. 27, falling from its No. 19 finish last year. Its negative job growth between March 2007 and March 2008 (down 1.65 percent), placed it in the bottom 10 of the 200 metro areas in that category. Boise performed well in the one-year wage growth category – ranking No. 2 – though it didn’t do as well in the five-year wage growth category – it fell to No. 28.

The top three best-performing large metro areas were Provo-Orem, Utah; Raleigh-Cary, N.C.; and Salt Lake City.