Kurt Badenhausen – Forbes
The national unemployment rate recently dipped to 5.8%, a level last seen in July 2008, but the economic recovery has hardly been robust. Voters went to the polls last week and expressed their dissatisfaction. The economy is the most important factor for voters and seven out of 10 said it is still in bad shape.
Yet, pockets of the U.S. are prospering with strong business climates. You need to head west to find most of these spots. Eight of the top 10 states in Forbes’ annual study of the Best States for Business are west of the Mississippi. Leading the way is Utah, which previously ranked first between 2010 and 2012 before dropping to third last year.
Total U.S. employment declined between 2008 and 2013, but Utah added jobs at a 0.6% annual clip, good for fourth best in the country. The gains are expected to continue with both Moody’s Analytics and EMSI forecasting top 10 growth rates for jobs over the next five years using “top down” (Moody’s) and “bottom up” (EMSI) methods. Utah also has the highest household incomes among the 10 states with thebest job growth forecasts over the next five years.
Utah has a very pro-business climate, and companies benefit from energy costs that are 26% below the national average—third lowest in the nation. Utah’s economy expanded 2.4% a year over the past five years—fifth best in the U.S. It is the only state to rank in the top 10 in five of the six main categories we used to determine the Best States. (…)