Unemployment: 4.7 percent
Sales Tax: 8.25 percent
Some have predicted that dark days for the oil industry could mean dire ones for Houston, oblivious to how diversified the local economy has become: of its top 10 fastest growing companies, only two are involved with energy, and one of those is involved in reducing consumption. Local government officials set the standard for putting politics aside to do what’s best for business. While some cities struggle to get back jobs lost in 2008, Houston created two for every one lost in the meltdown.