Metropolitan-area population: 1.3 million
Who's hiring now: Office Depot, Sikorsky, Tenet Healthcare
Hottest jobs Senior software developer ($86,100), senior mechanical engineer ($81,800), IT project manager ($80,400), construction project manager ($73,200), construction superintendent ($73,000)
The southeast coast of Florida experienced one of the biggest housing bubbles, and prices in West Palm Beach shot up even more than they did in Miami. The median price for existing homes dropped by almost 15 percent from its peak in late 2005 to the end of 2006, but the losses in construction are being matched by gains in the commercial sector. Office Depot, for instance, is constructing a new 625,000-square-foot operations center in nearby Boca Raton. "This region is not constrained like Miami," says Per Gunnar Berglund, a senior economist at Economy.com. "It's south Florida's frontier." The hiring will come mostly from business-services firms, with competition among them so intense that employers are still offering signing bonuses, flexible hours, and other perks. "There's a perennial shortage here," says Lee Fossett, who runs the local branch of Express Personnel Services, a national staffing firm.
Sources: Conference Board, Global Insight, Moody's Economy.com, PayScale, and Radford Surveys & Consulting.