Where the jobs are

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.

12 of 25
12. Christian County, MO
Christian County, MO
Towns include: Springfield
Job growth (2000-2009): 39.0%

Christian County's growth has depended on its neighbors.

Commuting to Springfield, the nearest big city, Christian County residents work for giants like Wal-Mart, St. John's Health System, and CoxHealth.

There is a similar spillover effect from Branson/Tri-Lakes, a regional tourist hotspot to the south. With the tourism industry booming around three lakes -- Table Rock, Taneycomo and Bull Shoals -- Christian County has benefitted from tourists looking for cheaper accommodations and new jobs for residents in hotels, spas, and restaurants.

The southern part of the county is predominantly undeveloped, as part of Mark Twain National Forest. -- F.R.

NEXT: Wake County, NC

Last updated July 13 2010: 5:14 PM ET

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