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Flint, MI

The Bad: Flint, the birthplace of General Motors, has suffered high unemployment (the current rate is nearly 12 percent), economic devastation and one of the highest crime rates in the U.S. as a result of the auto industry moving a lot of production out of the city in the past few decades.

The Good: What makes Flint attractive to business is that it has a highly skilled, hard-working labor force and real estate prices are still falling, which means they can buy office and factory space on the cheap.

The Recovery: “This city is ‘right-sizing’ itself to find its way in today’s new economic world,” Sperling said. “There are amazing real-estate bargains available to those willing to take a risk.” In fact, GM is making engines for its electric Volt vehicles at a plant in Flint.

Photo: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers | Wikimedia Commons