Think tank ranks SA 22nd among top-performing cities

No longer first, now that Silicon Valley rebounds


SAN ANTONIO – An internationally recognized economic think tank, the California-based Milken Institute has ranked San Antonio 22nd among the nation's top-performing cities in 2012, no longer first now that Silicon Valley is on the rebound for the first time since 2001.

"It's not what San Antonio didn't do, but rather how others have performed," said Armen Bedroussian, a senior economist at the institute. (See complete rankings )

Bedroussian said San Jose, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley, ranked the highest in terms of job creation and economic growth.

While the rest of the nation was mired in the recession in 2011, Bedroussian said, "San Antonio recovered faster and wasn't as exposed to the housing and financial crisis."

As a result that year, the Milken Institute ranked San Antonio first in terms of job creation and economic growth.

"In fact, San Antonio was able to sustain its position among the top 25, which is a difficult feat to accomplish," Bedroussian said.

"We are slow and steady," said Richard Perez, president and CEO of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

Although the state's budget crisis took a heavy toll on public sector jobs,  Perez said San Antonio's standing was fueled by the Eagle Ford oil boom and its mainstay industries -- health care and bioscience -- as well as hospitality and tourism.

"Aerospace is growing, IT and cyber-security continue to be bright spots," Perez said.

He also said Texas remains strong with Austin and Houston among the top five.

Perez said he considers the newest rankings encouraging.

"I think it's good news in the sense that our nation is coming out of the recession, finally," Perez said.

However, Perez said the upcoming budget battle in Congress may a toll on San Antonio military presence.

He said he's much more concerned about that.

"Not that we dropped from one to 22, but what's going to happen in the next two or three months," Perez said.

"I don't think there's an appetite in D.C. for a base closure, certainly not in 2013," Perez said.

Perez said those discussions will increase as the nation's budget grows tighter.