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New Orleans, LA

The Bad: New Orleans had the triple-whammy of Hurricane Katrina (2005), the recession and the BP oil spill. Bad weather, low education-adjusted wages and the risk for hurricanes all contributed to New Orleans making the list, according to city-data.com.

The Good: The unemployment rate has dropped to 7 percent from 8.1 percent in October. Plus, it’s got a lot to offer culturally, including music, food and nightlife. Plus, Sperling points out that it’s home to several large colleges, including Loyola and Tulane, and there’s a lot of outdoor recreation nearby.

The Recovery: Home prices are still falling, though there are some encouraging signs, such as the 9 percent jump in Orleans Parish. Plus, the number of homes sold is on the rise and there’s optimism for 2011. Hiring remains sluggish. New Orleans has had several wins on the recovery front: Globalstar and Blade Dynamics moved workers here and a venture-capital fund was recently set up to encourage start-up businesses. The mayor so believes in the city’s recovery that he recently put out a call for a company to produce a short video documenting the city’s recovery.

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