Washington, D.C.
Reported GDP in 2009: $366.6 billion
Reported GDP today: $407.5 billion
Unemployment: 5.8%
Population change 2000-10: 2.8%
With government jobs, lobbying and contracting gigs linked to those government jobs, a huge law community, a heavy tourist draw and the bolstering presence of universities such as Georgetown, George Washington, Howard and American and companies including Danaher ( DHR) and Pepco Holdings ( POM), D.C. and its surrounding areas were doing just fine before the recession. When the government decided the best way to upend that recession was to beat it over the head with money until it went away, that certainly didn't hurt the city's cause.

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