Metropolitan-area population: 1.3 million
Who's hiring now: Armor Holdings, CSX, Fidelity National Financial, Landstar System, Rayonier, Wachovia, Winn-Dixie
Hottest jobs IT project manager ($79,400), senior software developer ($77,800), financial controller ($76,800), physician's assistant ($75,900), construction project manager ($74,600)
Where southeastern Florida suffers, Jacksonville seems to benefit. While home prices are still close to their peaks in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville benefits from affordable housing and plenty of jobs in transportation, distribution, and wholesale, luring new families to the city to work. Expanding infrastructure and defense spending add their nickels to the public purse, while financial services, back-office operations, and medical research also make their mark on the region. All this ensures a steady supply of young professionals to the city, in which the median age is 36. Who said Florida is just full of old people?
Sources: Conference Board, Global Insight, Moody's Economy.com, PayScale, and Radford Surveys & Consulting.