The rest of the country might be mired in the aftereffects of a recession, but you'd never know it in Washington, D.C. Not because of any specific political action one way or another, but because that’s where the action is—and it fuels Washington's economy.

The federal government itself serves as an anchor to the city’s economic well-being. So says POLICOM Corporation’s list of the 10 strongest metropolitan economies in the nation.

Where else has the recession skipped? Salt Lake City, in second place, and Seattle in third, among other metropolitan areas. And while Texas may not host the federal government, it does serve as the home state of two more of the top 10 most prosperous metropolitan areas, which round out the top five: Austin and Houston.

(See previous AdvisorOne story on the top seven cities for financial services jobs.)

Washington and its surrounds have actually moved up in the standings. Last year it ranked second after the Seattle metropolitan area. Seattle ranked third this year, but is still growing, if at a slower pace than Washington and Salt Lake City.

POLICOM, an economics research firm based in Palm City,  Fla.,  annually ranks cities for economic strength in 366 metropolitan statistical areas—those with a city of at least 50,000 people and typically sprawling over more than one county.

"The top rated areas have had rapid, consistent growth in both size and quality for an extended period of time,” said POLICOM President William H. Fruth in a statement. “The rankings do not reflect the latest 'hotspot' or boom town, but the areas which have the best economic foundation."

Although most cities slowed or declined during the recession, the strongest areas weathered the storm, Fruth added.

Not only did Texas have two cities in the top five, it had a total of four in the top 20: Dallas and San Antonio also felt little of the recession's sting.