KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Kuala Lumpur was ranked the 6th top performing Asian city ahead of Shanghai and Singapore, thanks to an “impressive job growth”, a US-based think tank revealed today.
Milken Institute’s first ranking of the economic performance of Asia’s major cities was based on actual economic performance assessing job and income growth, and the strength of industries on the extent of economic value they add, it said in a statement.
The Best-Performing Cities Asia 2014: the Region’s Most Dynamic Economies ranked six Chinese cities in its top 10, with Shenzhen leading the way.
Guangzhou took the second spot, followed by Chengdu and Tianjin. Delhi was fifth , Singapore ranked eighth and Shanghai was at 10th spot.
“Above all other factors, it is job creation that drives the formation and expansion of the middle class in Asia’s most dynamic cities,” said Milken Institute’s chief research officer Ross DeVol, who was also one of the authors of the study.
He added that the data-based index highlights the urban economies that are doing the best job in both creating jobs and transitioning to a higher value-added, more sustainable, growth rate.
The report noted that KL recorded the third strongest job growth over the past five years, and its ranking was supported by a high per-capita household income.
Unemployment rate was at 3.2 per cent last year, with the labour force of over 900,000 people, it noted, adding that 35 per cent of the labour force has tertiary education.
“... with a large domestic market and an established financial sector, Kuala Lumpur has lots of opportunity for future growth,” the report said.
In a statement, it said the ranking, however, did not include cost-of-living comparisons or quality-of-life conditions such as pollution or commute times.
The report noted that the fact that Singapore, the only developed economy, made it to the top 10, was a remarkable showing since the survey’s methodology rewards fast-growing cities.
“The city-state is an economic role model on how to transition from a low-cost location to an open international economy, based on human capital, research, and innovation capacities,” it said.
Another co-author, Perry Wong, who is also the managing director of research at the institute, said he hoped the new annual index would help Asian leaders in government, business, and finance identify how best to continue to grow their economies.
“That in turn will fuel further prosperity and opportunity for people throughout the region,” he said.