Job Hunting

Best Cities for Business? Go West

Dot-com fallout: San Diego the best city for business; San Jose drops from one to 61. StaffMay 13, 2002

Despite rolling blackouts, annual water shortages, and the occasional 7.2 earthquake, California is, apparently, the best state to do business.

The Golden State’s cities took 6 of the 10 top spots — and 10 of the 25 highest positions — in the annual Forbes/Milken Institute study of the best places to do business and advance a career in America.

The top city on the list? San Diego.

Nearly 300 U.S. metro areas were ranked according to wage and salary growth, job growth, and high-tech output growth, among other criteria.

This year, the study included a job momentum category that tracked employment during the first quarter of 2002 to gauge how metro areas were dealing with the effects of the slowing economy.

Why did San Diego rank first? Besides the climate of a solarium, the southern California city had the most-diversified high-tech economy in the United States, with hundreds of biotech, communication, software, and information technology outfits, according to the survey.

The city with the highest five-year job growth is Las Vegas, at 32 percent. It ranked third overall in the survey.

San Jose, which took the top spot last year, fell to 61, mostly because the Internet bubble burst, the survey noted. This is the same reason why San Francisco sank to 54 from third place.

The top 15 cities are:

  • San Diego, Calif.
  • Santa Rosa, Calif.
  • Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Ventura, Calif.
  • McAllen, Tex.
  • Boise, Idaho
  • San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  • Oakland, Calif.
  • Brownsville, Tex.
  • Orange County, Calif.
  • Riverside, Calif.
  • West Palm Beach, Fla.
  • Boulder, Colo.
  • Dallas, Tex.
  • Vallejo, Calif.

To see the Forbes/Milken Institute’s complete ranking of U.S. metropolitan areas, click here.