The Hagerstown-Martinsburg metro area placed 71st jobwise on the "best performing" list of the nation's 200 largest metros, according to a study by the Milken Institute, a national think tank.
A year ago, the area was the nation's 79th best.
The local metro area - a term and area chosen by the U.S. Census Bureau - was home to 258,000 people in 2006.
The "best" standing put Hagerstown-Martinsburg one notch higher than the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos area of California.
This news prompted a public moaning from San Diego-area columnist Deal Calbreath, who blames San Diego County's catastrophic fall from grace on his area's continuing high cost of housing.
On the SignOnSanDiego.com Web site, Calbreath wrote, "According to the Milken report, the county ranks 72nd among the 200 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. That's quite a comedown for an area that, just five years ago, was ranked Numero Uno.