Brock Vergakis, AP

Earlier this week, CNBC released its annual rankings of the top states for business, based on 10 criteria that include workforce, quality of life, economy and business friendliness. Each category was based on a point system drawn from a variety of metrics. Utah ranked high on the list, coming in at number eight overall, including the top 15 in four categories.

Cost of Doing Business
Brock Vergakis, AP

Utah finished 12th in cost of doing business for reasonable tax burdens, including individual and property taxes, and business taxes as related to new investments. Utah also marked high concerning rental costs for office and industrial space, as well as the cost of wages. Iowa and Arkansas tied for 1st in this category with 285 points, while Utah garnered 232.

Workers for B. Jackson Construction Inc. put a new sign welcoming visitors to Utah on May 25, 2010 in Salt Lake City at the exit to Salt Lake City International Airport.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

In a state where the three main employers include the Kroger Group, the Larry Miller Group and the transportation service C.R. England, Utah took its second-best ranking at 8th in a category whose metrics include the education level of the workplaces, union membership and the competency of each state’s worker training programs in job placement for its participants. The state finished with 242 points, with number one Arizona at 285.

Bridgerland ATC High School student Cameron Gonzales checks the head lights during the 60th Annual AAA/Ford Student Auto Skills Contest at the Larry Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College in Sandy on May 6, 2009. Auto tech students compete for scholarships by diagnosing and fixing "bugged" vehicles and driving them over a finish line.

Quality of Life
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

With its Olympic-level ski resorts, urban attractions and status as the safest state in the nation, according to Travel and Leisure Magazine, Utah’s fourth-highest ranking was quality of life, with 226 points, good for 14th. The islands of Hawaii came first with 281 points.

Infrastructure and Transportation
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Despite the addition of modes of transportation such as TRAX and the Legacy Highway in recent years, this was the second-lowest category for Utah at just 145 points, 33rd overall, after being judged on metrics of the value of goods shipped by air, land and water. Quality of roads and availability of air travel also played a factor. Texas was the top dog with 293 points.

A new TRAX car arrives from the new Mid-Jordan line, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brendan Sullivan, Deseret News

With 159 points, Utah did well overall in this category, ranking 16th behind northern neighbors North Dakota (221) and Wyoming (210). For the first time in the CNBC four-year ranking history, part of this list was determined by projected surpluses, on top of basic indicators of economic health and growth and the number of major corporations located in a state.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Utah tied with South Carolina (just 60 points) at 46th in the nation in education—its lowest ranking—for its poor listing in higher education, which factors included its status as partners in research and development, as well as test scores, class size and spending of primary education. With colleges like Columbia, Cambridge, Cornell and Fordham, New York (191 points) headlined the list, whose top nine spots were all occupied by states from the east coast or New England.

President Thomas S. Monson, James Sorenson and Beverley Taylor Sorenson (from right) participate in the groundbreaking ceremony as the University of Utah breaks ground on the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex, a new interdisciplinary facility Tuesday, June 14, 2011, in Salt Lake City.

Technology and Innovation
Glenn Harper via Flickr

Utah finds itself square in the middle in this category, ranking 25th with 113 points—one spot ahead of South Carolina. This category was largely entrepreneur-based, including metrics on the state’s support for innovation and deployment of broadband services. California was first with 219 points, followed by New York with 212.

Salt Lake CIty-based Fusion-io, which creates flash memory technology, went public in June 2011. The company raised about $234 million.

Business Friendliness
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Only Delaware, Virginia and South Dakota claimed higher ranking than Utah, as the Beehive State finished just 26 points behind the frontrunner with 174. Legal and regulatory frameworks were the measuring stick here.

In this photo: Utah Governor Gary Herbert speaks during the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City Thursday, June 23, 2011.

Access to Capital
Nick Short, Standard-Examiner

Sandwiched between Missouri and Oklahoma, Utah placed 23rd with 56 points out of a possible 100 for its ability to venture capital flows to companies. Number one California scored a perfect 100.

Employees fill orders and check returns at March 28, 2011 in West Haven, Utah.

Cost of Living
Mike Terry, Deseret News

The state edges the top third of this category, at number 17th, with 34 out of a possible 50 points for its competence in squeezing wages further for costs of housing, food and energy. Eight of the top 11 states claim location from the southwest (Texas, Oklahoma) to the Deep South (Georgia, Mississippi), with the others being neighbors in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Kentucky leads the pack with 50.