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Phoenix ranked most miserable metropolitan area

Arizona learned that harsh lesson a month ago, when federal revisions showed that it has been steadily losing jobs for the past three years instead of starting to gain them in the latter part of 2010, as previously reported. "It totally changed people's understanding of how the recovery was going," Rex said. "In the first set of numbers, Arizona was actually in the top 10 (states) for employment growth. The second numbers, we're in the bottom 10. That's pretty significant." "Clouds are darkest in sunny Phoenix," wrote Kathleen Madigan, a Wall Street Journal writer. Boston was at the top of the least-miserable cities, followed by Cleveland, New York, Detroit, and Tampa. Portland, Seattle, Denver, Dallas and Las Vegas were among other cities considered less miserable than Phoenix. That prompted ASU economist Lee McPheters to say, "I would rather be miserable in Phoenix than in Cleveland." He said it was odd to include gas and home prices in one index because "a 5 percent drop in home prices translates into a whole lot more money than a much greater 20 percent increase in gas prices." But both economists acknowledged that Arizona's economy is weak.

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