10. Raleigh, N.C. The state capital saw job totals bounce back strongly after the 1981-82 and 1990-91 recessions, but it has lagged a bit in the two most recent recessions. Two years after the onslaught of the great recession, employment was still 97 percent of its peak. Newscom/File
9. Washington. A businessman stands waiting for a Washington Metro rail commuter train at sunrise. America's capital has done relatively well in the great recession. Employment is almost completely back to its prerecession peak, testament to the stability of a metro area heavily reliant on federal government.
8. Little Rock, Ark. The state capital of Arkansas stands at 98 percent of its prerecession peak. The presence of state government jobs may help to explain why it and other cities in the Top 10 rebound after economic downturns.
7. Madison, Wis. Wisconsin Badgers mascot Bucky Badger works the crowd during an NCAA women's basketball game. The state capital combines the advantages of a large state-government workforce with the steady employment of the University of Wisconsin. That may explain why the metro area has bounced back to full employment or better in three of the four last recessions.
6. Austin, Texas. Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips kicks off the 2010 South by Southwest festival at the Austin Music Hall in Austin. The state capital, college town, and high-tech center is one of only three large metro areas whose employment has fully recovered from the great recession. Only in the dot-com recession of 2001 did its employment fail to fully rebound after two years.
5. Albuquerque, N.M. Hot air balloons fill the sky at the 30th Annual Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Albuquerque's metro area accounts for half of New Mexico's economy. It has benefited from a large base of government workers employed by either Sandia National Laboratories or Kirtland US Air Force Base. Newscom/File
4. Fresno, Calif. A strong agricultural base has buoyed the metro area in three of the last four recessions. But it didn't allow Fresno to escape California's housing debacle. Two years after the great recession, employment is 96 percent of prerecession levels.
3. Virginia Beach, Va. Concertgoers and security personnel mix it up in a mosh pit at Virginia Beach's Mayhem Festival. With four military bases as well as strong corporate and tourism sectors, Virginia Beach has weathered the great recession relatively well. Employment is 99 percent of prerecession levels.
2. McAllen, Texas. Trinidad Amayo and his son harvest onions in McAllen. Located on the border with Mexico, the metro area has benefited from industrial production in its foreign trade zone as well as business from wealthy Mexicans. It is one of only three US cities whose employment is higher now than at the start of the great recession.
1. San Antonio. Services, manufacturing, and four military bases have made San Antonio the only large metro area in the US whose employment base has fully rebounded two years after each of the last four US recessions. Even the great recession has not stopped its employment base from recovering to 100.15 percent of prerecession levels. Newscom/File
The Obama administration is preparing its 2013 federal budget proposal and is letting some allies know how spending cuts will affect them. For Antonio Villaraigosa, president of the US Conference of Mayors, the news has not been good.
ByDave Cook, staff writer
Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, president of the US Conference of Mayors, says “bad news is coming” for the nation’s cities in the federal budget the Obama administration is preparing to release in early February.