The U.S. economy continues to sputter along with an outlook that is cloudy. The Federal Reserve indicated as much last week when it decided to keep in place its monthly $85 billion bond buying program to prop up economic growth. "Conditions in the job market today are still far from what all of us would like to see," said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at a press conference announcing the continuation of the easy-money plan.
But pockets of the U.S. are primed for growth thanks to pro-business regulatory environments, educated workforces and reasonable business costs. Leading the way is Virginia which tops Forbes' eighth annual Best States for Business. Virginia has ranked No. 2 the past three years, but returns to the head of the pack for the first time since 2009.