City's job creation ranks 56th
Honolulu has moved up seven slots on an index that measures where jobs are being created in America.
The city, which posted a 2.8 percent increase in job creation last year, ranked 56th out of 379 U.S. metropolitan areas studied by the Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Index in 2005. Honolulu ranked 63rd in the 2004 index.
The index, released yesterday, enables businesses, industry associations, economic development agencies, investors, academics, governments and public policy groups to assess and monitor recent metro area performance.
While Honolulu didn't earn a top 20 slot on the index, its improvement put it in the top 15 to 20 percent of all cities.
"I'm not really surprised about the ranking," said Paul Brewbaker, chief economist at Bank of Hawaii. "How good is it here? It's so good that we have a higher inflation rate than the nation."
Honolulu's strong job growth rate, which is nearly double what the country as a whole might expect, has boosted income growth, Brewbaker said.
"When jobs are growing faster than the national average, you'll find that incomes are growing, too," he said
Florida dominated the top positions in the 2005, taking not only the top three slots but 12 of its top 30 as well. Top scorers in the index boasted strong and growing service sectors, a robust recovery in tourism, growing populations and an increase in the number of retirees. As evidence, six metro areas in the top 20 come from the Southwest, including three in California, two in Arizona and one in Nevada.
By comparison, nine of the bottom 10 spots on the index were from the Midwest -- five from Michigan and four from Ohio -- reflecting the region's troubled manufacturing sector.
The biggest movers in the index were Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash., which moved up 104 places to occupy the 18th spot, and Newark-Union, N.J.-Pa., which dropped 101 spots to 140th.