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The New Economy

Study: San Antonio is America's top recession-resistant city

(Page 2 of 2)

There are now two distinct manufacturing belts – the one in Michigan and Ohio, which depends on the auto sector, and the one in the Northeast, which are more geared to aerospace and photonics, Berube says. The Northeast is experiencing fewer layoffs and home price declines.

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The Sun Belt is also divided into two parts. Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and inland California have been damaged by the collapse of their housing markets. But Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana have done better because of their affinity to either energy developments or government spending (think universities).

In fact, concentrations of universities, medical centers, and government offices have shielded many places from large job losses. That’s why cities such as Boston, New Haven, Springfield, Mass., and Provo, Utah, are ranked reasonably high

So then why is San Antonio the nation’s best-performing metro area when it has neither a major university nor a large state government presence?

Berube says San Antonio has benefited from the growth of financial services, such as USAA (which started off as an insurance company for military personnel), and some significant military installations. Tourism and hospitality have also been powerful economic drivers. There are five Fortune 500 companies located in the metro area as well as South Texas Medical Center – major economic forces.

As for Detroit, recent headlines about automakers' problems explain why it’s in last place.

– Guest blogger Ron Scherer is a Monitor staff writer.

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