Forbes: Merced worst place in U.S. to do business

Forbes staffers just can't help themselves when it comes to kicking Merced around.

After declaring Merced America's third-most miserable city in February, the magazine published in June its list of the nation's best places for business and careers. Not surprisingly, Merced's dead last.

Merced comes in at No. 200, behind Atlantic City, NJ, and Flint, Mich., in a list of 200 cities ranked according to the cost of doing business, job growth, education and population. Like the 'Misery' index, Merced is joined by Modesto (No. 197) and Stockton (No. 196) at the bottom of the list. Even Detroit, whose well-documented decline has made the city a poster child for urban decay, fared better than Merced at No. 195 on the Forbes list.

Merced's placement on the list, however, may be a little unfair to the Gateway to Yosemite: Forbes lists Merced's population at 258,000 -- an indication that the magazine editors are comparing the entire county to metropolitan areas. If the city of Merced -- population 81,000 -- was judged on its own merits, it'd probably rank a little higher on that list.

But I digress.

So what do you think? Does Merced deserve the sorry reputation it's being assigned?