Some towns are getting along in this economy better than others.

A report issued this week from the credit counseling agency CredAbility offers some encouraging signs, but also serves as a reminder that the economic recovery that took hold three years ago has had decidedly uneven effects.

Americans are in the best financial situation that they have been since 2008, according to CredAbility's latest Consumer Distress Index. The results factor in five measures of financial well-being -- housing prices, employment rates, credit, budgeting and net worth. Americans have made more headway this past quarter in bolstering their financial health than they made in any single quarter in the last seven years, CredAbility reports.

The index from just two months ago revealed a much grimmer overall picture, with declining net worth and budgeting problems keeping many American families in financial distress.

The addition of nearly 1.9 million jobs, improvements in auto sales and a substantial increase in housing construction translated to a modest 2.2 percent bump in economic growth during this year's first quarter.

But these promising signs don't necessarily mean good news for everyone. Calculations by University of California, Berkeley professor Emmanuel Saez reveal a trend toward rising income inequality. While average personal income rose from 2009 to 2010 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Saez's data shows that the richest 1 percent of Americans pocketed over 90 percent of the income growth the country experienced during that time.

And there's been a similar imbalance in terms of geography. Certain areas have captured more of the economic gains in recent years, while many places hit hardest by the recession are still struggling. Furthermore, over 50 percent of the jobs added in the last six months were in low-wage sectors like retail and temporary work, which might help to explain why many cities still show signs of financial distress on the household level in spite of recent job gains.

Here are the five metropolitan areas where people are doing the best financially, according to CredAbility, and the five where they're worst off:

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  • 5. BEST: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington

    The Texas metro area is also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/top-10-big-cities-jobs_n_1496129.html#s=946302" target="_hplink">one of the top ten places to find a job, </a>experiencing one of the highest levels of job growth in the country.

  • 4. BEST: Honolulu

    The Hawaiian capital's most recent unemployment rate, BLS data reported, <a href="http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.hi_honolulu_msa.htm" target="_hplink">was 5.7 percent </a>-- well below the national average.

  • 3. BEST: Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington

    One of the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shermans-travel/the-10-best-american-citi_b_1375197.html#s807412&title=MinneapolisSt_Paul" target="_hplink"> most bike-friendly places</a> in the country, the Minneapolis metropolitan area also made the top ten chart for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/top-ten-us-cities-most-educated-young-people_n_1504098.html#s=958174" target="_hplink">most educated young people</a> and was ranked third for<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/most-literate-cities_n_1230316.html" target="_hplink"> most literate city.</a>

  • 2. BEST: Boston

    Massachusetts recovered from the recession faster than the country as a whole and added jobs last year at a faster rate than the national average, <a href="http://articles.boston.com/2012-04-18/business/31356074_1_job-growth-job-estimates-employers" target="_hplink">according to Boston.com.</a> The state's capital holds its ground in healthcare, financial services and higher education. The <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/most-literate-cities_n_1230316.html" target="_hplink">fifth most literate city, </a> Boston also has the<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/top-ten-us-cities-most-educated-young-people_n_1504098.html" target="_hplink"> most educated young people </a>in the country with around 40 percent holding a higher education degree.

  • 1. BEST: Washington D.C.

    D.C. has topped the charts in other ways as well. It was ranked the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/best-cities-for-women-metropolitan-areas-well-being-measure-of-america_n_1465731.html#s921593&title=1_Washington_DC" target="_hplink">best city for the well-being of women</a>, reflecting the highest educational attainment, life expectancy and median earnings for women. And, the nation's capital also took the prize for the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/most-literate-cities_n_1230316.html" target="_hplink">most literate city</a> in the country for two years in a row.

  • 5. WORST: Los Angeles

    Los Angeles lost its economic clout when the recession knocked out the strength of its manufacturing and retailing industries, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/business/jobs-crisis-in-los-angeles-and-two-possible-approaches.html?pagewanted=all" target="_hplink">according to the <em>New York Times.</em> </a>

  • 4. WORST: Atlanta

    Atlanta struggled to get its footing back long after the country was said to already be in recovery, <a href="http://blogs.ajc.com/business-beat/2011/08/08/recession-fears-grow-after-sp-downgrade-hits-fragile-economy/" target="_hplink">according to <em>The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. </em></a> Besides the immense drop in home values after the housing bubble collapsed,<a href="http://blogs.ajc.com/business-beat/2011/08/08/recession-fears-grow-after-sp-downgrade-hits-fragile-economy/" target="_hplink"> the metro area lost jobs </a>in construction, banks, architecture and other businesses, the AJC reported last year.

  • 3. WORST: Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach

    Miami also previously took the title for the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/americas-worst-run-cities-247-wall-st_n_1186175.html#s590983&title=1_Miami_FL" target="_hplink">worst-run city in the country</a>, reflecting low economic mobility as a result of ineffective allocation of resources and poor debt management. Since the housing crisis, the area also has one of the highest rates of mortgage delinquency, according to CredAbility.

  • 2. WORST: Detroit

    Detroit's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/americas-worst-run-cities-247-wall-st_n_1186175.html#s590982&title=2_Detroit_MI" target="_hplink">major auto manufacturing industry </a>nearly collapsed when auto sales declined during the recession. One of the hardest hit by the housing crisis, the city also suffers heavily from <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/detroit-home-prices-slide-foreclosure_n_1257723.html" target="_hplink">high rates of foreclosure</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/cities-where-home-prices-_n_1504009.html#s=958809" target="_hplink">falling home prices</a>. Ranked the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/05/americas-worst-run-cities-247-wall-st_n_1186175.html#s590982&title=2_Detroit_MI" target="_hplink">second worst-run city</a> in the country, the city's legislators recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/detroit-growth-and-stability-act-2012-hansen-clarke_n_1389764.html" target="_hplink">requested $500 million</a> in federal loans to help with mounting financial problems.

  • 1. WORST: Tampa-St. Petersburg

    Florida has suffered one of the highest unemployment rates in the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/worst-states-to-get-a-raise_n_1509235.html#s=965694" target="_hplink">country and has one of the most</a> distressed home markets in recent years. The residents in Tampa-St. Peterburg area have been struggling to make their mortgage payments since the housing boom. The area has one of the highest rates of delinquent mortgages, CredAbility reports.