No. 3

No. 3

Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, Wash.

Companies planning to hire in next quarter: 24%
Best job prospects: Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality, Government
Population: 235,841
Average home price in January: $133,134
Unemployment rate: 8.8%

The Tri-Cities metro area is made up of the principal cities of Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco. Kennewick, the largest of the three, has a strong manufacturing, food processing, retail trade, and services economy. Fast-growing Pasco's economy is based around food processing, and Richland is home to Washington State University-Tri-Cities and the Energy Dept.'s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.