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Metro Baltimore gets 'B' on best economies list

The Milken Institute published its annual list of the best-performing cities, economically speaking. Metro Baltimore was No. 64 on the list of the 200 biggest metro areas for 2009, ranking well in high-tech production and gross domestic product growth. It beat out most metro areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. But it ranked far below dozens of southern towns -- partly, as the report admits, because the oil economy boosted metro areas in Texas and Louisiana. The Milken Institute also credits the south's lower costs.

You should note, however, that a lot of the data is from 2008, possibly before the economic crash took full effect. I bet Baltimore, which has been helped by stimulus and other government spending this year, would do much better if ranked now.

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Texas took four of the top five spots -- Austin, Kileen-Fort Hood, McAllen and Houston. Salt Lake City was No. 3. The only northern city in the top 10 is Olympia, Washington. The highest-ranking city that's even remotely in the Northeast was metro Washington D.C. Next is New York at 38th and Hartford at 48th.

Out of the 200 biggest metro areas, metro Baltimore ranked 23rd in one high-tech "location quotient" and 56th in another. It was 38th in 1-year, high-tech GDP growth and 54th in 5-year, high-tech GDP growth. For other measures, such as overall job growth and wage and salary growth, it ranked lower.

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