In many of the Sun Belt cities, growth from 2002 to 2006 was tied to real estate and construction. Now, the economies and foreclosures in those places are worse than in other regions.

For example, real estate and construction drove 36 percent of growth in the private economy of the Phoenix area during that period.

Other cities feeling similar pain are Orlando, where construction and real estate accounted for 33 percent of economic output, as well as Miami, Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Calif., and Riverside County, Calif., where it was about 30 percent.

Places that were built on real estate speculation or as retirement and second-home communities are going to have a harder time, unless they double down and begin to build real economies, says Richard Florida, urban theorist and author.

Source: New York Times, John Collins Rudolf (08/27/2009)