Not only was the region identified by the nonprofit's survey, the Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem, area also rose in rank, too – from 66 in 2011 to 65 in 2012.
The Institute uses geographic terms and definitions used by the Office of Management and Budget.
The OMB defines a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) as a region with a large population center and surrounding areas with "a high degree of economic and social integration, as measured by community ties."
According to the survey, the Valley ranked as follows:
• 55 in five-year job growth
• 60 in one-year job growth
• 89 in five-year salary growth
In addition to ranking the 200 largest U.S. metro areas, the Best-Performing Cities project includes a companion index that measures the performance of smaller cities.
The 2012 index looks at 179 small metros, the same number as 2010. The highest-ranked this year have either high concentrations of public-sector employees (especially in prominent universities) or are expanding their activities in the energy sector.
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