Reported GDP in 2009: N/A
Reported GDP today: N/A
Population change 2000-10 (Elko County): 7.8%
It's not the most burgeoning town at less than 20,000 people, but Elko was bulletproof during the recession thanks to its biggest business: gold mining. As the price of gold increased from $561.50 per ounce in 2006 to more than $1,560 per ounce today, mining companies Barrick ( ABX) and Newmont ( NEM) got 15,000 to 17,000 application for mining work in Elko that would have doubled the town's population if that many jobs were available. The reason Elko has even a 7.9% unemployment rate, which is still far less than Nevada's 13.2% rate, is because there just isn't enough work for the job seekers looking to cash in on Nevada's gold rush. For those already here, however, the median income is the highest in the state, the town's casinos and cultural events keep drawing in the tourists and its four brothels make sure everybody's cashing in on the area's windfall. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.