Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana
Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana

Known to locals as the "recreation vehicle capital of the world," this relatively small metropolis in northern Indiana is among the fastest growing areas in the country. Manufacturing alone boosted GDP in 2010 by 11.4 percentage points, leading to a whopping 13% rise in GDP.

It wasn't always that way, however. And if there ever were a positive story to be told about an economic turnaround following the Great Recession, it would be set in the Elkhart-Goshen area. In March 2009, Elkhart County's unemployment rate was at 20.3% -- far higher than the national average of 8.5% at the time. But thanks partly to the rebound in demand for Humvees and RVs (the town even has an RV museum and hall of fame!), unemployment has fallen to 10.6%.

To be sure, that's still higher than most parts of the country. But the rebound in manufacturing helped slice the number of jobless by about half in one year. The question now is will the progress continue?


Last updated September 26 2011: 11:49 AM ET