Coeur d'Alene: Top-tier Ranking in Best-Performing Cities

Best-Performing Cities 2020: Where America’s Jobs Are Created and Sustained


From article published February 28, 2020. By Michal. C.Y. Lin, Joe Lee, Perry Wong of Milken Institute.

Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities series has tracked the economic performance of US metros for two decades using job, wage and salary, and high-tech gross domestic product (GDP) indicators. Metros are ranked on their performance, while indicators help identify the drivers behind their success or failure. With this publication, we hope metros will learn from others’ experiences and enhance urban economies in the long run. 


Coeur d’Alene, ID, maintains its fifth-place rankings in this year’s Best-Performing Small Cities Index. The metro’s five-year wage growth of 11.6 percent is the standout among the indicators this year, ranking eighth.

Wages in the “Heart of an Awl” metro grew 2.8 percent in 2018, ranking 14th, while employment grew 1.3 and 7.4 percent over the short- and medium-term—ranking 16th and 11th in these indicators, respectively. An encouraging sign for the metro is the 28th place ranking for the number of high- tech industries with an LQ one or greater, which demonstrates both a diverse economy and a number of high value-adding jobs.

Coeur d’Alene continues to benefit from the development of its business service sector, which takes advantage of the lower cost of doing business in the metro relative to the surrounding area. The growth of this sector adds a new dimension to a metro known for being a retiree community and tourist destination. Job growth in the metro has also caused the unemployment rate to drop to 3 percent, which will boost wages in a tight labor market.

The metro’s population growth has resulted in a construction boom. Single-family housing permits have increased 109 percent since 2013, and construction activities in the metro have added 400 new jobs, the majority of which are specialty contractors.125 Even still, the metro continues to benefit from its comparative housing affordability.

See the complete listing for small metros.

See the complete list of rankings for large metros.

Learn more about the methodology.


Download PDF of full report.

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Special Thanks to Travis Trout and Idaho Commerce for select regional pictures