Originally posted at the Milken Institute.

What critical factors determine which U.S. metros are thriving or merely surviving? Which places possess the traits that will lead to success?

The Milken Institute’s annual Best-Performing Cities report provides a fact-based, comprehensive metric system across metropolitan areas that highlights the job, wage, and technology trends that shape current and future prospects. The Milken Institute’s annual index of Best-Performing Cities shows that technology and energy are the biggest forces behind America’s booming metros.

California is home to four of the Top 25 large cities.

This year’s best-performing metro area is Austin, Texas. Other cities that scored high included: Provo, Utah (No. 2, up from seventh place last year); San Francisco (No. 3, up from No. 36); San Jose (No. 4, down from No.1) and Salt Lake City (No. 5, up from No. 6).

“Some of the leading tech metros were successful despite being high-cost, high regulation locations,” says Ross DeVol, chief research officer of the Milken Institute and one of the report’s authors. “Cities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Cambridge have developed R&D assets and infrastructure that makes it easier to innovate there than in lower-cost locations.”

Other cities in the top tier show how the surging U.S. energy sector is lighting up local economies. The shale oil and gas boom thrust nine metros into the Top 25, including Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi in Texas, as well as Bakersfield, Calif. In North Dakota, oil production has increased by more than 400 percent in the last five years, helping place both Fargo and Bismarck in the Top 5 small cities.

The Best-Performing Cities index shows where jobs are being created and sustained in metros across the U.S. The index includes measures of job, wage, and technology performance to rank the nation’s 200 large metropolitan areas and 179 smaller metros. Unlike other “best places” rankings, it does not use quality-of-life metrics, such as commute times or housing costs. In the Institute’s index, employment growth is weighted most heavily due to its critical importance to community vitality. Wage and salary growth measures the quality of jobs created and sustained.

For more about the process, click here.

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Several other California cities made the list, including:

Large Cities 2013 (by Metropolitan Area):

3. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City

4. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

19. Bakersfield-Delano

25. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles

39. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta

43. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos

78. Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine

81. Vallejo-Fairfield

92. Oakland-Fremont-Hayward

97. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale

99. Visalia-Porterville

103. Santa Cruz-Watsonville

125. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura

157. Santa Rosa-Petaluma

158. Fresno

159. Merced

165. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville

171. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario

175. Salinas

185. Stockton

188. Modesto


Small Cities 2013:

29. El Centro

34. Napa

57. Madera-Chowcilla

80. Hanford-Corcoran

92. Yuba City

96. Chico

151. Redding


View all of the cities on the Milken Institute’s interactive map below:

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A nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank, the Milken Institute works to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital, and enhance health. We produce rigorous, independent economic research – and maximize its impact by convening global leaders from the worlds of business, finance, government, and philanthropy. By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, we transform great ideas into action.

View the full report here.