No. 12

No. 12

Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex.

Companies planning to hire in next quarter: 21%
Best job prospects: Construction, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality
Population: 378,255
Average home price in January: $50,675
Unemployment rate: 8.8%

The metro area, about 90 miles east of Houston, is one of the largest refining and petrochemical centers in the nation. Among the projects under way is the $7 billion Motiva refinery expansion in Port Arthur.