By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new report by Forbes Magazine calls the Twin Cities one of the nation’s top job markets, perhaps offering a little hope for people who have long been looking for work.

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Forbes magazine says the Twin Cities is the fourth top job market in the country, adding that our local economy is expected to recover by the middle of 2011.

The three cities landing the coveted spots of best job markets in the nation are Washington D.C. , Boston and Austin, Texas.

Dr. David Vang, Department of Finance Chair at the University of St. Thomas, says the Twin Cities’ ranking doesn’t surprise him.

“The Twin Cities, and Minnesota in general, has a much more diverse economy than many other parts of the nation,” said Vang. “While our heart goes out to all those individuals who are unemployed right now, our economy tends not to be as hurt as bad as nationally because we are never dependent on one sector. We didn’t extend ourselves as far out during the home mortgage crisis as other cities did so that gave us more breathing room for our economy to return.”

One of the thousands hoping for an economic recovery is Riordan Frost, 22, of St. Paul. Eight months after college graduation, Frost is still looking a public policy job.

“Left college with high hopes, thinking ‘here I am world,’ and it turn out that way, sadly,” he said.

Frost tried plan B, which was looking for retail jobs and a job at movie theatres — all without luck. He is now working as an unpaid intern at the MN 2020 organization as a transportation policy associate.

“I reasoned that with other jobs on the side, house sitting, yard work, whatever, I could maintain this unpaid job to get the experience necessary to get a better job down the road or go to grad school down the road,” said Frost. “I realized that just because I can’t get a job, it doesn’t mean the job market is bad in Minnesota.”

Frost is currently applying to grad schools, “because two years down the road, the economy is going to be better off than it is now.”

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The Forbes report says the Twin Cities could make a full recovery by mid-2011, down from the current unemployment rate at 7.1 percent.

“If it gets down to around 5 percent, we will all be very pleased, but that is quite a strong statement to say fully recovered,” said Vang.

Six job markets on Forbes’ list are capital cities with government jobs.

The survey points to Minnesota’s job growth in manufacturing and retail, using the Mall of America expansion as an example. When complete, the mall’s expansion is expected to create around 7,000 jobs.

Minnesota State Economist Tom Stinson says the numbers he studies do show signs of progress.

He says Minnesota lost around 160,000 jobs during the recession, but currently a third of those jobs — 50,000 — are recovered, and that’s higher than a national comparison.

According to Stinson, the country has lost 8.4 million jobs and gained back 1.2 million since the recession began.

Stinson says Minnesota’s manufacturing is beginning to make a comeback, but currently construction companies are still suffering.\

Check out the ranking by clicking here.

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WCCO-TV’s Lindsey Seavert Reports