Los Angeles' struggling economy and comparatively high unemployment rate has been cited in the debate over hiking Department of Water and Power rates by as much as 28.4 percent. The metropolitan area's jobless number, about 13.2 percent, indeed outshines the national figure of 9.7 percent.

But as business journalist Mark Lacter points out, L.A.'s economy is really middle-of-the-road, with a rank of 52nd in unemployment in 2009 among the nation's largest metropolitan areas, according to numbers from the Brookings Institution. While it's nothing to cheer about, Dido might also sing that “it's not so bad.”

Brookings also looked at employment, housing prices and the value of goods and services:

“Toss everything into a blender and L.A. gets ranked among the 'second-weakest' metro areas” for economic indicators, Lacter writes. “The group includes Chicago, Atlanta, SF, San Jose, Milwaukee and Nashville – a pretty diverse bunch economically, politically and culturally.”

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