UP: Madison. The Brookings Institute, in its quarterly MetroMonitor report, ranks Madison among the nation's 20 strongest-performing cities during the recession. The city has relatively low unemployment, while its economic output has increased slightly.
DOWN: Madison. The city is facing a growing debt load, with almost 21% of its total spending expected to go toward debt payments by 2017. In 2011, the city will pay $32.2 million toward its debt. If the Common Council approves Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's 2011 capital budget, the city will owe $238.2 million.