We know: How is Rochester even in the same league as London, New Orleans or even Austin? Kodak ( EK) is crumbling, Xerox ( XRX) is struggling with relevancy. From the outside, by rights, Rochester shouldn't have much to look forward to in 2012. The problem is, it's just not true. Employers such as Bausch & Lomb and Genesee Brewing parent North American Breweries have kept Rochester's unemployment below 7% and falling. The latter has also managed to boost its beer business nearly 7% in 2010 while overall U.S. beer sales fell 1%. The real estate market, meanwhile, is a wonder: Home prices are actually up 1.4% since 2010 and have been rising steadily since the housing boom. Sure, there are cold winters, feet of lake-effect snow and a sky that turns gray in October and usually stays that way until April. But the city that's been shrinking since the 1960s feels downright cozy in the treat-stocked aisles of a Wegmans supermarket, over a cheeseburger-and-mac-salad garbage plate at Nick Tahou's or with a Genny Cream Ale and a rack of ribs at Dinosaur Barbecue. It's shockingly stable, and that's about the best any city can ask for in 2012. "That's my hometown, and knowing what's happened to Kodak and other pillars of the local economy, I was surprised when Rochester scored on the Top 5 list. I applied the same formula to all cities and did not have my thumb on the scale," Trulia's Kolko says. "Prices -- which fell little during the boom -- are stable, and the economy has weathered blow after blow and is expanding." -- 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.
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