18. Shelby County, AL
Shelby County, AL
Towns include: Alabaster, Pelham
Job growth (2000-2010): 32.6%

Alabama's fastest growing county is enjoying generous job growth as well. The area's headcount is expected to jump by 10,000 in the next five years, according to data tracker Woods & Poole Economics. Professional services are expected to gain most, with about 1,300 jobs that will pump more than $91 million into the local economy. Major employers include the local school system, Regions Bank and Wal-Mart.

With rapid growth, however, come growing pains. The county's infrastructure has had trouble handling its expanded population. A plan to upgrade the I-280 corridor with an elevated highway has received widespread support with a vocal minority voicing its opposition.

Last updated August 19 2011: 7:00 PM ET
Join the Conversation

Most Popular
Full list: Top 100

These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.