Kotkin argues that metro areas with low costs of living--in addition to strong job markets--are best prepared for economic recovery and growth. He groups the winners into three categories: "Texaplex" cities driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit and booming energy sector; the "New Silicon Valleys" gaining momentum on high-tech jobs and low housing prices; and "Heartland Honeys" benefiting from rising agricultural prices and high-tech industrial jobs.
It's no coincidence that most of his picks lie in red states, says Kotkin:
"Unlike the Sun Belt states and cities along the East and West coasts, these locales not only grew during the boom of the mid-2000s, they suffered least in the Great Recession. The fact that they are mostly in red states should give the newly ascendant GOP comfort as it tries to deliver on its election-year promise to right the economy."