Washington, D.C. has been in the news for many reasons lately, after it was pummeled by two snow storms and as the location for the sparring match between Republicans and Democrats over healthcare. But there are other reasons the city has been spotlighted.
The city has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, at 6.2%, and its output amounts to $362.3 billion, more than three times the average for the country’s largest cities.
According to Forbes, who when rating the cities looked for a relatively low unemployment rate, using December 2009 figures, the most recent available, and the rate of job growth between December 2007 and December 2009, both from the Bureau of Labor statistics, jobs in Washington are growing quickly, and in 2008 the city produced more in goods and services than almost anywhere in the country.
Nine other cities, including Boston, Los Angeles and a host of metros in Texas, are best surviving the downturn in part because they specialize in industries that are relatively insulated from economic volatility.
Federal and state jobs all but guarantee the health of a local economy, and nowhere is there more government-related work than in Washington.
It also saw a more modest slide in home sale prices than many other metros in late 2009. Cities where the recession’s effects are lessening either never felt the full brunt of the housing crisis, or have proven resilient enough that demand is returning sooner than elsewhere in the country.
These strong housing markets further enrich the local economy by feeding a host of secondary industries, like construction, lending and household services.
Forbes sought cities where economists expected that jobs would keep growing, based on the three-year job-growth forecast from Moody’s ( MCO - news - people ) Economy.com; they also looked for metros with the highest positive change in median sale price for single-family homes between the third and fourth quarter of 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors. Finally, we factored in Metropolitan Gross Domestic Product–the dollar amount of goods and services produced within a metro area–provided for 2008, the most recent available, by Moody’s.
Forbes ranked the 40 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas for which it had comprehensive data (that excludes Nashville, Tennn. and Detroit, Mich.) on all these measures, then averaged the rankings for a final score.