The Best U.S. Cities for Riding out a Recession

Some Cities Will Be Safer in a Recession

 

Cities with a strong presence in health care, education, law, energy, and the government will feel the impact of a downturn less

Oct. 13's 937-point surge in the Dow notwithstanding, the economic crisis has left Americans—even those with no obvious connection to Wall Street—wondering about their own future. The 401(k)s of many Americans are still on shaky ground, foreclosures are spiking, and employers in big cities and small towns alike are struggling to adapt to a new environment of tight credit and feeble consumer spending.

Government leaders are working to avoid a depression—or at least a late-1970s-level recession—but if things get really bad, some places will suffer more: states such as California, Florida, and Nevada that are buried under a growing mass of foreclosures, cities like New York and Chicago that have large numbers of financial sector jobs, and manufacturing towns that are already suffering from weak sales of cars and other durable goods.

Other local economies, those dominated by stable industries, could be relatively well-cushioned. BusinessWeek.com worked with data from PolicyMap.com, a demographics and data site run by Philadelphia's Reinvestment Fund, to identify the best places to live during a recession. We looked at places where large portions of the population worked in anticyclical industries such as government, health care, education, agriculture, and legal services.

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