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What economic slowdown? Some spots still boom

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According to a January report by Moody's Economy.com, 30 states still showed signs of economic expansion, 15 were at risk of sliding into recession, and five had already entered a downturn. The five states already in recession – Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, and Nevada – represent about 25 percent of US gross domestic product (GDP), Mr. Zandi says. The 15 states at risk of recession represent another 25 percent of the GDP.

A softening economy fits into the portrait painted by the Federal Reserve Board's Beige Book, which takes a more anecdotal approach to business activity. On March 5, the Beige Book, which looks at the Fed's 12 districts, found economic growth had slowed since the beginning of 2008. "Two-thirds of the Districts cited softening or weakening in the pace of business activity, while the others referred to subdued, slow, or modest growth," stated the report.

Some of the states that are still growing are in agricultural areas, benefiting from soaring wheat, corn, and soybean prices. This includes Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Indiana.

But North Dakota, a farm state, has also worked hard to diversify its economic base, notes Gov. John Hoeven. "That's been our No. 1 focus," says Governor Hoeven in a phone interview.

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