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Fresno, CA

The Bad: Unemployment here is a whopping 17.2 percent. And Fresno is among the worst cities for foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac, with 1 in 22 homeowners facing foreclosure.

The Good: “It’s fairly affordable – for a California city – with some nice older neighborhoods,” Sperling said. Plus, there’s a large state university here and a lot of outdoor recreation. It has a Mediterranean climate, which makes for mild winters and dry summers. Health care companies, the city and California State University are among the largest employers.

The Recovery: Business conditions are showing some signs of improvement. Sales were up at 41 percent of small businesses in 2010 but most are still in cost-cutting mode and just over one in 10 plan to hire more workers this year, according to a recent survey. Unemployment has actually gone up in the past six months to 17.2 percent from 15.1 percent in September.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons