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Dayton, OH

The Bad: Dayton has suffered severe job losses since the auto industry crisis and the unemployment rate here remains near 10 percent. It also has a high crime rate and high obesity rate.


The Good: Dayton has a diverse economy, two big universities, a military base and classic older neighborhoods, according to Sperling, which make it attractive for business. Many big corporations have headquarters here. Plus, the state never participated in the real-estate bubble, which will help accelerate the economic recovery here when job growth, consumer confidence – and spending – resume.


The Recovery: Job growth is expected to remain stagnant for at least the first half of 2011 but there is hope that the city will bounce back. “Dayton’s industrial heritage is transitioning to today’s new technologies,” Sperling said. Plus, health care is a huge part of its economy and health care is expected to be one of the fastest-growing industries of the next decade, given the aging Boomer population.

Photo: Altrendo Travel | Getty Images