The Logan metropolitan area has been named the second-best performing small city in the United States by the 2021 Milken Institute Best Performing Cities (BPC) analysis.
The community was recognized for its economic vitality by the annual report, which emphasizes jobs, wages, and high-tech growth while incorporating housing affordability and household broadband access. The Milken Institute credited Logan’s sustained job and wage growth through the duration of the pandemic and the city’s diversified and high-tech industrial base.
“We are fortunate to live in a community with a low unemployment rate, a competitive labor force, and a diverse economy not anchored to one industry,” said Logan Mayor Holly Daines. “While we recognize that not all have been insulated from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Logan residents and businesses have continued to enjoy a unique quality of life not seen in other communities.”
While other universities in the nation reported furloughs and layoffs in 2020, Utah State University, the community’s top employer, did not lay off any employees due to the pandemic. The university also welcomed its largest new class to the Logan campus in the fall and reported overall steady enrollment numbers, which contributed to maintaining a strong local economy.
“We are privileged to live in a great community that enjoys a strong, resilient and robust economy,” said USU President Noelle E. Cockett. “We also recognize the impact Utah State University’s enrollment and employment has on Cache Valley and are pleased to see that reflected in the Milken Institute’s report. As part of our mission as a land-grant university, USU prioritizes its partnerships with local communities, and we strive to support economic development however possible.”
The city ranked fifth overall in the number of high-tech industries that call Logan home, including pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturing. These industries have helped Logan sustain the local economy.
“These prominent medical industries have sustained the local economy through an otherwise difficult 2020,” the report reads. “Notably, Logan is one of the few metros in both our large and small cities with positive short-term job growth.”
Logan’s 2021 ranking is one spot better than the 2020 ranking, keeping Logan as a Tier 1 city in the 201 small cities that were scored. Logan is one of just 13 small cities to earn the Tier 1 ranking.
Cities are ranked on several factors including:
- Job and wage growth over a one-year and five-year period
- Short-term job growth
- High-tech GDP growth over a one-year and five-year period
- Housing affordability over a one-year and five-year period
- High-tech concentration
- Broadband access
According to the Milken Institute’s data, Logan ranked highly in many crucial areas of the index, leading to its No. 2 ranking among small cities. It joins other larger metropolitan areas in Utah on the report, including Provo-Orem, Salt Lake City, Ogden-Clearfield and St. George, which all landed at or near the top of their categories.
Logan ranked ninth in short-term job growth over a one-year period, while also ranking seventh in wage growth over a one-year period, showing the city’s resilience despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The city also ranked in the top 20 in high-tech GDP concentration, five-year wage growth and five-year employment growth, showing sustained gains.
“For years, Logan has been known for its stability, beauty and natural amenities,” Mayor Daines said. “We expect to continue to see innovation in our technology sector that will grow our competitive and educated workforce.”
The goal of the Best Performing Cities index is to help readers evaluate how well these cities promote economic vitality and stability. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s rankings included such metrics as housing affordability and broadband internet access, as stay-at-home orders and social distancing played a factor in economic growth, as well as the traditional metrics of job and wage growth and tech GDP. This is also the first year the cities have been grouped into five tiers. The index has been published annually since 1999.