by Joshua Zumbrun
Wednesday, May 7, 2008 provided by
Nationally, home prices are falling, unemployment is on the rise and the economy is expected to grow slowly--or even contract--in the first half of the year.
But some cities are doing just fine.
The others holding steady or improving include Austin, Texas; Houston; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; San Jose, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; Salt Lake City; and Seattle.
Behind the Numbers
To find them, Forbes.com examined the country's 50 largest metros and looked at several key measures.
We examined unemployment data supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year ending in February 2008 to see which areas are most adding or subtracting jobs. Next, we looked at the BLS data on job growth in non-farm payrolls, through February 2008, for construction, education and health services, financial activities, information, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, natural resources and mining, professional and business services, trade, transportation and utilities, and the BLS's catch-all category, "other services."
We also took into account median home price data from the National Association of Realtors--from the fourth quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2007--to see which areas posted the largest annual gains. Our data don't account for the impact of declining sales in the first several months of this year.
Finally, our rankings were adjusted using data from a November 2007 report, "U.S. Metro Economies: The Mortgage Crisis," by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It lists each city's estimated gross metropolitan product growth by projecting how rising foreclosures and falling home prices would affect overall levels of productivity in local economies.
Sunny Southern Skies
What's more, all four boast falling unemployment rates, with
Cities that are expected to see growth in non-farm payrolls include
Some cities have seen increasing home prices but otherwise continue to struggle.
And in the
To be sure, even in the most resilient cities, the mortgage crisis has caused suffering. People everywhere got into bad mortgages. Similarly, even in the most battered cities, the majority of people are employed and making their mortgage payments. The extent of recession or resilience is very much in the eye of the beholder, and this list represents only one of many ways to take a snapshot of economies that are standing tall.
In his statements to Congress' Joint Economic Committee earlier this month, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted the economy would possibly move into recession in the first half of 2008 but begin to rebound in the second half.
If you're tired of waiting, these might be the best places to go.