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Blacksburg metro area makes big leap in best-performing small cities list

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The Blacksburg metro area has made a big leap in its ranking among the nation’s best-performing small cities.

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford metropolitan statistical area ranked No. 32 in the latest list compiled by Los Angeles-based Milken Institute, up 128 spots on the list from the MSA’s 2011 ranking.

The New River Valley MSA includes Montgomery, Pulaski and Giles counties.

The Milken Institute – a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank – said its Best-Performing Cities index is designed to gauge how well metro areas are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth.

Two Virginia MSAs ranked in the top 25 on the Small Cities list. The Charlottesville area was No. 11 in the latest list, up three spots from 14th last year. The Harrisonburg area was 22nd, down from 18th last year.

Among large metro areas, the Washington, D.C., area, which includes Northern Virginia, ranked fifth. The region ranked 17th in 2011.

The Small Cities index ranked 179 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. with populations of 200,000 or fewer using measures of job, wage, and technology performance. The top spot for small cities this year went to Logan, Utah.

Among the nation’s 200 large metro areas, the top spot went to San Jose, Calif., the capital of Silicon Valley. Other cities with strong exposure to technological innovation scored high in the new ranking: Austin, Texas (No. 2, up from fourth place); Raleigh, N.C. (No. 3, up from No. 14); the Washington, D.C.,(No. 5); and Cambridge, Mass. (No. 8 from No. 12).

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