Especially now, plentiful job opportunities are key to making a great place to live. These 25 counties have experienced the most job growth over the last nine years.
Job growth (2000-2009): 32.0%
The Valley of the Sun has seen an explosive population surge in its suburban edges over the last decade as Californians looked for cheaper real estate, retirees eyed its master-planned communities and pristine golf courses, and Midwesterners sought out warmer weather.
With once-empty desert now the home of new homes and strip malls, construction, real estate and retail jobs are booming.
Small agricultural towns to the west of metropolitan Phoenix were revived as Lockheed Martin, Amazon.com and other major companies set up offices there, boosting the number of white-collar workers and families in the area. A former cotton field in the suburb of Glendale, for example, now houses two new major sports arenas and the Westgate City Center, a major development housing shops, restaurants, offices, theaters and apartments. The 2008 Super Bowl also helped revitalize Glendale's tourism industry. -- A.C.
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