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Albuquerque Jumps 72 Spots in Best Performing Cities Report

Milken Institute’s 2021 report shows economic vitality improved significantly in spite of pandemic

Feb. 19, 2021

In its annual Best-Performing Cities report, the Milken Institute has identified Albuquerque No. 89 in the “Tier 3” cities category—72 spots higher than the 2020 report. The report utilizes a specially designed index to evaluate how well cities promote economic vitality in comparison to similar cities.

“We’re grateful that Albuquerque has made leaps and bounds on this list, even amid a global pandemic,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We worked to keep the bottom falling out of the economy and now we’re pushing towards a recovery that will make our city’s economy more vibrant and resilient than ever.”

The Milken Institute index is used to understand economic opportunity, indicating where employment is stable and expanding, wages and salaries are increasing, and businesses are thriving. According to the report, ranking cities combine steady growth and innovation, concentrating on investment in high-tech sectors that generate positive effects for local communities.

“Albuquerque is making waves in our key industries—aerospace, bioscience, directed energy, smart city technologies, and film and digital media—and the nation is taking notice,” said Economic Development Director Synthia Jaramillo. “Our city is becoming a top choice, not only for businesses, but for all people looking for a healthy and robust quality of life.”

The City of Albuquerque recently launched the ABQ Home for Life Campaign that positions Albuquerque as an ideal location for people seeking a more healthful and relaxed lifestyle. The campaign targets remote workers, who can do their jobs from anywhere, and former residents of the city, also known as ‘boomerangers.’ The message capitalizes on migration trends that have been accelerated by the pandemic – namely, moves away from large cities and from areas prone to natural disasters in favor of lower-risk, mid-sized cities.

The Milken Institute rankings are based on scores calculated using a combination of short- and medium-term growth in jobs, wages, salaries, and technology output. For 2021, the index was modernized to show cities that have built inclusive local economies by adding measures of housing affordability and a measure of access to broadband internet. These highlight infrastructure improvements that reflect economic performance, and local job creation and higher wages make prosperity more accessible for all of a metro area’s residents.