The 15 biggest US cities with booming economies, ranked

  • America’s big cities are one of the main engines of the country’s economy.
  • We ranked the 30 biggest metro areas on five measures of economic health.
  • The cities at the top of the list have thriving technology sectors. San Francisco took the top spot.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

America’s big cities have an outsized role in the country’s economic engine, and these cities in particular are thriving.

Business Insider looked at five measures of labour market and overall economic health for the 30 metropolitan areas with the largest populations: the unemployment rate, job-growth rate, per capita GDP, GDP growth, and average weekly wages. We combined those measures together to get an overall sense of economic health in the metro areas.

Read more about our methods and data sources here.

The top three cities on our ranking – Seattle, Austin, and San Francisco – all have thriving technology sectors, along with strong economies overall.

Here are the 15 big metro area economies with the strongest economies, ranked from worst to best:


15. Atlanta, Georgia: The unemployment rate of 3.3% was just above the average rate among the 30 biggest metro areas of 3.2%, and the GDP growth rate of 2.9% was slightly higher than the average rate of 2.7%.

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14. Houston, Texas: The job growth rate of 2.6% and average weekly wage of $US1,318 were both the seventh highest among the 30 biggest metro areas, while the GDP growth rate of 0% was the lowest.

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13. Charlotte, North Carolina: The unemployment rate of 3.7% was tied for fourth worst among the big cities, while the GDP growth rate of 3.5% was the seventh best.

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12. Los Angeles, California: The per capita GDP of $US68,044 and the average weekly wage of $US1,345 were both the sixth highest among the 30 biggest metro areas.

Getty ImagesLos Angeles, California

11. New York, New York: The average weekly wage of $US1,537 was the fourth highest among the big metros, and the per capita GDP of $US72,228 was the fifth highest.

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10. Portland, Oregon: The per capita GDP of $US63,731 and the GDP growth rate of 3.0% were both the tenth highest among the big metro areas.

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9. San Diego, California: The average weekly wage of $US1,260 was the ninth highest among the big metro areas, and the unemployment rate of 2.8% was tied for seventh lowest.

David Slotnick/Business Insider

8. San Antonio, Texas: The GDP growth rate of 4.6% was the third highest among the big metros, and the unemployment rate of 2.6% was the fourth lowest.


7. Washington, DC: The average weekly wage of $US1,540 was the third highest among the 30 biggest metro areas, and the per capita GDP of $US74,198 was the fourth highest.

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6. Denver, Colorado: The GDP growth rate of 3.6% was the sixth highest among the big cities, and the unemployment rate of 2.4% was the third lowest.

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5. Boston, Massachusetts: The average weekly wage of $US1,589 was the second highest among big metro areas, and the per capita GDP of $US78,334 was the third highest.

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4. Dallas, Texas: The job-growth rate of 2.9% was tied for third highest among the 30 biggest metro areas, and the GDP growth rate of 3.9% was the fourth highest.

Tony Gutierrez / AP

3. Seattle, Washington: The per capita GDP of $US80,471 and the GDP growth rate of 5.2% were both the second highest among the 30 biggest metro areas.


2. Austin, Texas: The GDP growth rate of 6.9% was the highest among the big metro areas, and the unemployment rate of 2.2% was tied for lowest.


1. San Francisco, California: The per capita GDP of $US90,296 and average weekly wage of $US1,932 were both by far the highest among the 30 biggest metro areas, and the unemployment rate of 2.2% was tied with Austin as the lowest.

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