NEW YORK (

MainStreet

) -- Much of the country is still waiting for the economic recovery to lift the local job market, but in San Antonio it's as though the recession never happened.

The combination of greater energy investments, limited regulation on businesses and an increase in government spending on military bases in the area helped San Antonio add enough jobs this year to pass its pre-recession employment levels, making this the best-performing large metropolitan area in the country, according to a

report

from the Milken Institute.

Texas leads the way in job creation, thanks to an abundance of energy resources and government spending on military bases there.

To come up with its index, the nonpartisan economic think tank analyzed labor data from the 200 largest metropolitan areas to find the cities that have done the best in terms of job creation, wage/salary increases and business growth.

San Antonio wasn't the only city in Texas to rank high on the list: Four of the top five cities were from the Lone Star state and nine Texas cities placed among the top 25, far more than any other state, while Utah had three cities in the top 25.

To some extent, the success of the Texas labor market is more a matter of good fortune than good planning. As the Institute points out in the report, extra funding for military bases in cities such as San Antonio and El Paso has indirectly boosted employment in other sectors including education and health care as more military personnel move into the area and increase the demand for such services. At the same time, oil and gas reserves in these and other Texas cities continue to lure business investment and jobs. Should either of those contributing factors change, Texas may lose its front-runner status as a job-friendly state.

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Other cities that ranked high on the list tended to benefit from either government spending, a skilled labor force or both. Salt Lake City and Provo-Oren, Utah, both jumped more than a dozen spots on the list thanks to a growth in high-tech jobs. Washington, D.C., has remained firmly in the top 25 thanks to federal employment opportunities, though its position slipped 11 spots from last year, presumably because the government has been forced to freeze pay and cut back on hiring.

For more cities with bright job prospects this decade, check out MainStreet's roundup of the cities with the jobs of the future!

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