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Ross DeVol, Joe Lee, and Minoli Ratnatunga of the Milken Institute, Center for Jobs and Human Capital, looked at the economic performance of metropolitan areas throughout the United States. They used "a fact-based set of metrics such as job creation, wage gains, and technology developments" to asses the growth in these areas and see which factors are leading to higher performance. Grants Pass was ranked #8 of the Top 10 Best-Performing Small Cities, rising from their 2015 ranking of #56 of the 201 ranked cities.
"Grants Pass, OR, jumps 48 places, from 56th to eighth, in this year’s index. The metro moved quickly into the Top 10 after being added to the index in 2015. It saw large gains in one-year wage growth, jumping 129 places, and rose 26 places in short-term job growth.
Grants Pass has seen increases in high-wage jobs driven by the health-care industry. Investment in newer equipment comes as an increase in demand is spurred by an aging population. Health-care services account for 3,900 jobs in Grants Pass, about 5 percent of the population in the metro. Grants Pass has seen investment of just over $4 million in Three Rivers Medical Center. The investment gives the hospital greater capacity for cancer treatment and diagnostic procedures. Because of changes in regional demand, the medical center recently opened a new $30 million building, which will expand treatment capacity. The metro has seen growth in health care driving up wage growth. The expansion of the health-care industry is a welcome change, loosening the dependence on the lumber industry as an economic driver. Mycorrhizal Applications, a Valent acquisition, is a regional leader in agriculture products and just expanded operations to the California consumer market with the sale of a fungicide. One fast-growing business in Grants Pass is Dutch Bros., a coffee company with $283 million in statewide sales. These types of businesses are helping the metro diversify its local economy."
-Page 39, 2016 Best-Performing Cities