Auburn named top 10 performing small cities in America

Auburn named top 10 performing small cities in America

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Football polls are one thing, but now, the Auburn-Opelika area is ranked the 10th best performing small city in the nation – with Auburn named to the Milken Institutes Best Performing Cities list for the second year in a row.

The city is home to the 11th best job growth rate in the country.

"It is really about economic development and jobs, and the local economy, which we see a lot of those rankings here," said David Dorton, the Director of Public Affairs for Auburn. 

In 2015 alone Auburn has been on numerous lists, including Forbes' Best Small Place for Business and Careers and Best Small City for Jobs, Most Educated Cities, Best Small College Towns, Best Town to Raise a Family, and Top Places to Retire.

One of the main reasons local leaders point to is the technology industry. Auburn ranked 13th in the country in high tech GDP growth in the past five years.

Dorton says that the technological growth was strategically coordinated by the city.

"Intentional strategy of recruiting kind of recruiting small to mid size industries, technology and knowledge based industries, trying to find a variety so that all of your eggs aren't in one basket, and you know just trying to keep the job base, and the tax base strong in those ways," Dorton said.  

The major growth in the tech industry is thanks in part to one major company.

"GE Aviation that is certainly one of the big players in the world that decided to come to Auburn, and do some very interesting and innovative things including, additive manufacturing I guess we would call 3D Printing," said Dorton.

Dorton says.Auburn's GE Plant is the first of its kind to mass produce jet propulsion components.  

GE's success, plus Auburn University are helping the Opelika-Auburn area be known for much more than sports.

"When they see Auburn on TV you know around the country or even around the world it's football. Which isn't a bad thing but there is certainly a lot more to Auburn than just that too. It's that great relationship with the University, great education system, great job base, it's just a great place to live," Dorton said.

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