We score all 50 states on more than
60 measures of competitiveness, developed with input from a broad and
diverse array of business and policy experts, official government
sources, the CNBC Global CFO Council and the states themselves. States
receive points based on their rankings in each metric. Then we separate
those metrics into 10 broad categories, weighted based on how frequently
each is used as a selling point in state economic development marketing
materials. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria
they use to sell themselves.
Our study is not an opinion survey. We rely on tangible numbers to gauge
each state's performance, scoring all 50 states on more than 60
measures of competitiveness, using publicly available data.
Here are our categories and this year's weightings.
Workforce - We rate states based on the education level of their
workforce, the numbers of available employees, and the states'
demonstrated abilities to retain college-educated workers. We measure
workforce productivity based on each state's economic output per job. We
look at the relative success of each state's worker training programs
in placing their participants in jobs. We also consider union membership
and the states' right-to-work laws.
Cost of Doing Business - We look at the competitiveness of each
state's tax climate, as well as state-sponsored incentives that can
lower the cost of doing business. Utility costs can add up to a huge
expense for business, and they vary widely by state. We also consider
the cost of wages, as well as rental costs for office and industrial
Infrastructure - We measure the vitality of each state's
transportation system by the value of goods shipped by air, waterways,
roads and rail. We look at the availability of air travel in each state,
the quality of the roads and bridges, and the time it takes to commute
Economy - We look at economic growth, job creation, consumer
spending, and the health of the residential real estate market. We
measure each state's fiscal health by looking at its credit ratings and
outlook, as well as its overall budget picture. We also consider the
number of major corporations headquartered in each state.
Quality of Life - We score the states on livability, including
several factors, such as the crime rate; inclusiveness, such as
antidiscrimination protections; the quality of health care; the level of
health insurance coverage and the overall health of the population. We
evaluate local attractions, parks and recreation, as well as
Technology & Innovation - We evaluate the states on their
support for innovation, the number of patents issued to their residents
and the record of high-tech business formation. We also consider federal
health, science and agricultural research grants to the states.
Education - Higher-education institutions offer companies a
source to recruit new talent, as well as a partner in research and
development. We consider the number of higher-education institutions in
each state, as well as long-term funding trends for higher education. We
look at several measures of K–12 education, including test scores,
class size and spending. We also look digital and lifelong learning
opportunities in each state.
Business Friendliness - But we grade the states on the freedom their legal and regulatory frameworks provide for business.
Cost of Living- The cost of living helps drive the cost of doing
business. From housing to food and energy, wages go further when the
cost of living is low.
Access to Capital - We look at venture capital investments by state, as well as small-business lending on a relative basis.
North Carolina is #5 on the list of America's Top States for Business.
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