12/17/2011 01:16 pm ET | Updated Dec 18, 2011

The 10 Best Economically Performing Cities: Milken Institute

A struggling labor market may be one of the most significant problems currently facing the United States, but some cities are starting to return to pre-recession life.

Texas cities especially have seen the greatest improvements in jobs, wages and technology compared to cities in other states, according to the Milken Institute's annual review of the cities performing economically best. Four of the top five cities that have made the greatest economic strides over the last year are located in the state, which has benefitted from low business costs and little reliance on a struggling manufacturing sector, as well as continued energy exploration activities.

Other cities that have performed particularly well include Anchorage, Alaska, and two cities in Utah. Alaska benefits from
a thriving oil and gas extraction industry while the Salt Lake City and Provo-Orem are notable for their strength in the technological sector, including pharmaceuticals as well as IT.

And while cities like San Antonio may be experiencing a full-fledged recovery, complete with a return to pre-recession employment levels this year, according to the report, the rest of the country continues to struggle. Last month the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent from 9 percent, yet the decline is due in large part to huge numbers dropping out of the workforce.

Meanwhile, President Obama proposed new measures this week that would improve the wages of home health care workers, making employment increasingly attractive in a sector that is expected to see significant growth in the coming years due to an aging baby boomer population. However, the proposal is a relatively anemic attempt at improving job growth since Obama's primary jobs plan, the American Jobs Act, has largely stalled in Congress.

Likewise, last month Federal Reserve Chairman reaffirmed the central bank's focus on spurring job growth.

Here are the 10 best economically performing cities, according to the Milken Institute:

10 Best Performing cities