Mesa, Phoenix rank in Top 3 cities for economic growth in U.S.

Article originally posted on AZ Big Media on July 2, 2024

In an economic landscape that is constantly changing, a city’s prosperity is not only brought by a robust job market, but also by investments in infrastructure, local entrepreneurship, innovation, and community. Therefore, we took into consideration metrics such as population growth, GDP, employment rates, trade activity, and other economic indicators, all of which can be found in the methodology section of this study.

Top 10 large cities for economic growth

Highlights from the study:

  • Mesa and Phoenix won a spot in our best U.S. cities for economic growth study, ranking #1 and #3 large cities. At the same time, Surprise ranked #5 small city;
  • Showing data at metro area level, both Mesa and Phoenix registered the highest increase, among large cities, in infrastructure at 34.26% in 2022 compared to 2018 – resting at more than 16,000 miles. However, Surprise got the 4th spot in its respective population bracket for the same metric;
  • For the same reason, all three cities recorded a 37.82% growth in GDP, surpassed only by Austin, TX (46.33%) in the large cities category and mostly by Texas and Idaho locations in the small cities category;
  • Moreover, Phoenix stood out with 54% more business applications between 2018-2022, accompanied by a rise in the employment rate by 2%;
  • At state level, Gilbert and Chandler also found a spot each among the best mid-sized U.S. cities for economic growth, ranking #1 and #3;
  • Nationally, Nampa, ID, snatched first place in the small cities category, thanks to the 3.5% drop in unemployment.

Urban Giants: The Top Large Cities for Economic Growth

1. Mesa, AZ – 66 points

Mesa, AZ, leads the list for large cities, driven by impressive gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 38% between 2018 and 2022 and employment growth of 2%. Infrastructure also improved in the four year timeframe in Mesa, registering an uptick of 34%. This robust economic performance can be linked to several strategic initiatives and factors. Mesa’s focus on diversifying its economy has attracted numerous tech companies, bolstering the city’s GDP and creating high-quality jobs. Additionally, the city’s investment in infrastructure, including transportation and public amenities, has made it a more attractive place for businesses and residents alike.

2. Fort Worth, TX – 64 points

Fort Worth, TX, takes the second spot in the large population bracket. The city’s population has grown by 7%, totaling 957,000 in 2022, while its education attainment rate is at 10% – the highest among large cities. The city has also made significant investments in housing, evidenced by the 11% growth since 2018. Fort Worth has strategically leveraged its geographic advantages and diversified its economy, attracting businesses in various sectors, including technology, healthcare, and logistics.

This economic diversity has been a key factor in sustaining employment and population growth. The rise in housing has not only provided more living spaces but also spurred related economic activities, including construction and real estate development, further contributing to the city’s economic dynamism.

3. Phoenix, AZ – 63 points

Phoenix, AZ, ranks third, bolstered by an evolving infrastructure and growing GDP. But those are not the only metrics where Phoenix stands out. 54% more business applications were registered between 2018-2022, reaching an impressive total of 83,305. This surge in entrepreneurial activity has been accompanied by a 2% drop in the unemployment rate, indicating a dynamic but competitive job market.

The Top Mid-Sized Cities for Economic Growth

The Top Small Cities for Economic Growth