6. Utah. While Utah has a reputation for being one of the most culturally conservative states, don't confuse that conservatism with a lack of dynamism or risk-taking. Utah has the third-fastest-growing firms in the country. It also ranks third in "job churning"—the number of new start-ups combined with business failures. It might seem strange to count failures as a good thing. But a large amount of job churning indicates that the state's economy is replacing old and inefficient businesses with new and more efficient ones. Utah's government lowers the cost of doing business by making few health insurance mandates—the fourth fewest in the nation of any state.
7. Florida. The Sunshine State's economy has been hit hard by the housing crisis, more than almost any other state. But Florida's economy has some fundamental advantages that are not going away simply because of a recession. Its low corporate and unemployment taxes and nonexistent individual taxes attract business people. Additionally, Florida has done a good job adjusting to new economic and technological trends: It ranks ninth in the nation in the export focus of its manufacturing sector and eighth in the number of Internet domain names created per firm.