By Jami Miedema

As the country slowly emerges from our economic meltdown, many are wondering where we’ll find the first signs of economic recovery. Which cities will begin to feel the return to prosperity first? And what factors will play a role? Only time will tell, but Forbes has already attempted to answer these pressing questions.

Forbes compiled a list of 100 metropolitan areas, ranking them on their potential for a fast recovery from the recession. The variables that were taken into account were unemployment rates, gross metropolitan product (GMP) growth, foreclosures, home prices, and sales rates. Here are the top 10 metro areas poised for a speedy recovery:

1. Omaha, NE
2. San Antonio, TX
3. Austin, TX
4. Pittsburgh, PA
5. Harrisburg, PA
6. Dallas, TX
7. Rochester, NY
8. Houston, TX
9. Raleigh, NC
10. Baton Rouge, LA

Now you may be asking yourself what makes these areas so resilient, especially when a few of them haven’t had healthy economies in quite some time. The key seems to lie within their diversified industries and stable housing markets that haven’t experienced wild price fluctuations like other parts of the country. These factors have meant less home foreclosures, fewer lost jobs, and an increased GMP for some of these areas.

For instance, Forbes noted that Omaha, home to Berkshire Hathaway’s headquarters, experienced 1.3% growth in GMP (the national average is .8%) while maintaining a low foreclosure rate and low unemployment rate of 5%. Further, four Texas metro areas made the top 10 due to their booming tech industry, energy sector, and chemical manufacturing capabilities coupled with their steady housing market.

Another factor that has stabilized cities such as Pittsburgh and Rochester has been an increase in public-sector jobs. While this may provide a quick fix, the article stresses that this relief may only be temporary depending on future government spending.

While no area has gone unscathed by the recession, digging a way out may be easier and faster for the aforementioned MSAs, given their position relative to areas hit harder by the economic downturn. The lesson we can take away from the Forbes article is this: To secure your future in an economically healthy place, treat your site search as you would a portfolio investment look for diversity and stability.

Find out where your metro area ranked by visiting this link:

Source: Levy, F. (November 2009). America’s fastest-recovering cities. Forbes.