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Memphis, TN

The Bad: Memphis made it to the list for its high crime rate and high obesity and diabetes rates, according to city-data.com. Plus, its unemployment rate is 9.4 percent.

The Good: Memphis is rich with culture, famous for blues, gospel and country music -- Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes and B.B. King all got their starts here. “Memphis has a great sense of place – it’s interesting and colorful with unique cultural assets,” Sperling said. It’s also home to more than a dozen universities, two of the largest private hospitals in the country, and its central location for the south and Midwest makes it attractive for business. It’s home to three Fortune 500 companies, including FedEx.

The Recovery: Memphis is an interesting example of a targeted recovery: There is a push here to focus on growth in existing parts of the economy -- medical and biosciences. And, in an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy as well as the economy of Memphis, FedEx reported its average daily volume of box shipments rose 2.4 percent in the quarter ended Feb. 28.

Photo: Gavin Hellier | Robert Harding | Getty Images