A Year in Review: Which U.S. Cities Thrived in 2016

by Carson BuckJanuary 2, 2017

Where the Economy Isn’t Just Recovering; It’s Booming

According to an article that appeared earlier this year in the New York Times, while economic growth is still sluggish throughout a good portion of the country, certain cities are thriving — even booming.

And while the healthy economies of tech giant cities San Francisco and Seattle aren’t terribly surprising, there are cities that are finding ways to thrive economically despite their distance from the nation’s tech hubs. In places as far from the Silicon Valley and Silicon Forest as Atlanta and Orlando, “employers are hiring at a steady clip, housing prices are up, and consumers are spending more freely.”

The importance of a highly trained manufacturing base is driving growth in these cities, while other factors are driving it elsewhere. Here’s a roundup of what cities are booming in 2016 and why.


It really isn’t much of a surprise that the cities of Northern California’s Bay Area, from Petaluma all the way down to San Jose, are doing just fine, thanks to their proximity to tech giants Google and Apple, not to mention the constantly rolling boil of innovation surrounding Stanford University. The same can be said of the Puget Sound area of Washington State, Bellevue, and Seattle, considering that Microsoft, Boeing, and Amazon seem to be doing just fine.

According to an MIT economist quoted in that same NYT article, “It’s pretty clear that some metropolitan areas are doing really well. The ingredients to that formula seem to be some combination of great research universities and knowledge-intensive industries, whether it’s high tech on the West Coast, biotechnology here in the East or clusters of technology and robotics in places like Pittsburgh.”


But, for all the press that high tech businesses get for saving their local economies, there is another type of base that is helping towns and cities across the nation recover more swiftly than some of their counterparts. The reason for this is complicated, but can largely be chalked up to the multiplying effect that manufacturing has on the economy.

According to an article that appeared in Forbes earlier this year, “Manufacturing has the highest multiplier effect of any sector of the economy… a dollar of final demand for manufacturing generates $1.33 in output from other sectors of the economy, considerably higher than the multiplier for information ($0.80) and more than twice as high as such fields as retail trade ($0.66) and business services ($0.61).

Finding a Place to Shine or Building Something at Home

Well there you have it — a list of the cities thriving in the shifting economic climate of 2016. If you find that you are living someplace that is still struggling to recover from the recession, it may seem like moving to where the jobs are is your only resource. But, keep in mind that the strength of a solid manufacturing base multiplies its earning power more greatly throughout the surrounding community. You can always build your own cottage industry at home.

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About The Author
Carson Buck
Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today's world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.

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