Metropolitan-area population: 1.8 million
Who's hiring now: Boyd Gaming, InfoGenesis, MGM Mirage, Station Casinos, Zappos, tech firms "nearshoring" or relocating to Vegas
Hottest jobs: Construction project manager ($78,800), IT project manager ($74,600), construction superintendent ($71,900), civil engineer ($70,000), executive chef ($65,500)
Analysts say Las Vegas could end up topping Orlando in job growth, because it's uniquely insulated from downturns in ways that most major cities would envy. True, the region took a hit when the housing boom went bust last year--a sixth of its workforce is involved in construction and real estate.
But almost in sync, another engine of the local economy went into overdrive: As the value of the U.S. dollar fell last winter, foreign tourists surged in, sparking restaurant openings and hotel expansions. MGM Mirage alone plans to hire 28,000 new employees by the end of the decade. Milken Institute economist Ross DeVol notes that Vegas continues to attract back-office operations from California's high-tech regions. The cost of a knowledge worker, including salary, training, and benefits, is about 20 percent lower here than it is in Los Angeles or San Francisco.