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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
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.