Most business friendly states
- Virginia Back on top for the first time since 2009, Virginia has ranked among the top two during each of the eight years of our annual Best States for Business study. The state ranks on top of the regulatory category because of its strong incentive offerings and business-friendly government policies. Virginia has a widely diverse economy that includes local and federal government, military, farming and manufacturing
2. North Dakota It is tops for job growth (3.7% annually), income growth (3.8%), gross state product growth (7.9%) and unemployment (3.6% average). Credit the development of the Bakken oil shale fields in the western part of the state for much of that growth, as well as thriving technology and service sectors
3. Utah Utah falls out of the top spot after three straight years at No. 1. The state still has a very pro-business climate and companies benefit from energy costs that are 29% below the national average. Utah’s economy has expanded at 2% a year over the past five years—fourth best in the U.S
4. North CarolinaWith one of the highest net migration rates in the U.S., people have been flocking to North Carolina for the past decade. North Carolina has the smallest union workforce in the U.S. in terms of percent of total employment. The resulting benefit is labor costs that are 19% below the national average—third lowest in the country
- 5. Colorado Colorado is the rate non-right-to-work state near the top of our Best States rankings. Credit an educated labor supply and a migrating population that is attracted to its robust economy and outdoor recreational opportunities. Colorado is expected to have the third fastest growth for both jobs and household incomes over the next five years
6.NebraskaThough Lincoln is the state capital, Omaha stands as Nebraska’s largest city and economic center. Omaha is home to Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO and founder, Warren Buffett, is the third richest person in the world. The city is also home to ConAgra, Mutual of Omaha, InfoUSA and TD Ameritrade. At 4.2%, Nebraska’s unemployment rate is the third lowest in the country.
8. Texas The $1.4 trillion Texas economy is the second biggest in the U.S., behind only California. Texas is the only state that ranks in the top five for both current economic climate and growth prospects. The Texas economy is expected to expand 4.2% annually over the next five years, which is second best in the nation. One of the only things holding Texas back is the education rate among its labor supply. Only 81% of adults have a high school degree, which is lowest among the states.
9. Minnesota Minnesota’s overall rank jumped 12 spots on the strength of an improved economic outlook. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is home to 62% of the state’s population. It is also serves as the state’s economic hub, with companies such as Target, U.S. Bancorp, General Mills, 3M and Medtronic headquartered there. Minnesota has the second highest percentage of adults with a high school degree at 92.5%
10. Washington A cradle for innovation, Washington is the birthplace for a spectrum of iconic companies, including Microsoft, Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Boeing and Costco. Venture capitalists are always searching for the next great Washington company, pouring $2 billion of VC money—sixth most in the U.S.—into the state between 2010 and 2012. Though Washington does not collect personal or corporate income taxes, the business and occupation tax (B & O) affects most businesses
- Georgia Georgia’s once robust economy has slowed in recent years, but the state still maintains a pro-business climate. Big companies headquartered in the state include Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola and Southern Company. Union workers make up only 4.4% of Georgia’s employment base, which is one of the lowest rates in the country. One drawback: 19% of the population lives below the poverty line, which is one of the highest rates in the U.S