Where the jobs are

Especially in a tough economy, plentiful job opportunities are key to making a great place to live. These 25 counties have experienced the most job growth over the last eight years.

20 of 25
20. Will County, IL
Will County, IL
Towns include:  Plainfield, Shorewood, Romeoville, New Lenox, Joliet, Mokena, Goodings Grove, Crete
Job growth (2000-2008): 51.4%

Who says America doesn't make stuff anymore? Will County, Illinois, is an old steel center some 30 miles southeast of Chicago. After dealing with 26% unemployment in the 1980s, the area diversified. Now it sports a made-over economy that's home to a massive Caterpillar plant, Exxon, BP and Dow chemical facilities, a Sharp Electronics plant, as well as light assembly and rubber manufacturing.

They've got a hand in logistics too: The county hosts one of the nation's largest intermodal transport centers that connects truck, rail and barge shipments. Many residents work in the 2,500-acre distribution center for large employers like George Pacific and Wal-Mart. If shipping is not your thing, try your luck as a Blackjack dealer. Two casinos in the county employ almost 3,000 people.

NEXT: Weld County, CO
Last updated July 21 2009: 4:23 PM ET
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