Metropolitan-area population: 4.0 million
Who's hiring now: Ontario Airport subcontractors, Tesco, UPS
Hottest jobs Physician's assistant ($78,800), construction project manager ($77,600), manufacturing plant manager ($77,200), construction superintendent ($75,800), construction estimator ($68,600)
The capital of California's "inland empire" has been especially vulnerable to the housing slump, but continued growth as a shipping and warehousing hub for Los Angeles is expected to provide sufficient relief. Economy.com's Sophia Koropeckyj expects residential building permits this year to be about half the volume of 2005. And a disproportionate number of subprime mortgage holders could mean a rash of defaults, warns Milken Institute economist Ross DeVol. But as the real estate market stabilizes, Riverside's booming logistics economy should put it back on a growth track. It's a direct result of America's record trade deficit with China: The largest pipelines for Asian goods are the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and Riverside is where those imports are processed for delivery. British grocery chain Tesco is building a distribution center in Riverside. When it opens this fall, it will employ 500 people.