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The pandemic changed the battle between the states for business and jobs, and the race to be America’s Top State for Business. This year’s runners-up in the annual CNBC study of state competitiveness reflect the strengths of some perennial favorites, but also recent rising states and a first-time top five finisher that excelled in categories that have grown in importance, and evolved.

Published every year since 2007 except for last year during the depths of the pandemic, this year’s Top States study, which took six months to complete, evaluated the states on more metrics than ever before, 85, across ten categories of competitiveness: Cost of Doing Business, Infrastructure; Life, Health and Inclusion (formerly Quality of Life), Workforce, Economy, Business Friendliness, Access to Capital, Technology and Innovation, Education, and Cost of Living.

Here are the 2021 runners-up in CNBC’s Top State for Business in…

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