With a large, educated workforce, a rebounding housing market and a strong infrastructure, Georgia tops this year’s list of best states for business, as compiled by CNBC. The Peach State has always scored in the top 10, since CNBC started ranking states in 2007, but this is the first time it ever took the number-one spot.
Every year, the Top States for Business study rates the nation on more than 50 metrics in 10 categories of competitiveness. CNBC says it holds each state to its own standards by weighing categories based on how frequently they appear as a selling point in marketing materials. Georgia nabbed 1,659 points out of a possible 2,500, finishing at or near the top in three categories and in the top half in all but two. For the third year in a row, the state finished first in the workforce category (300 points). The other categories: cost of doing business (450 points), economy (375 points), infrastructure (350 points), quality of life (300 points), technology and innovation (300 points), business friendliness (200 points), education (150 points), cost of living (50 points) and access to capital (25 points).
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal isn’t surprised by the study’s findings. “As more and more people see Georgia’s successes and consider it for an expansion or relocation, I think more rankings will put Georgia on top,” Deal said.
Texas nabbed the number-two spot in CNBC’s list, as the Lone Star State added more than 300,000 jobs in the last year. It also boasts a strong economy, a thriving technology and innovation sector, and robust access to capital. Rounding out the top five are Utah, Nebraska, and North Carolina.
At the bottom of CNBC’s state ranking are Connecticut, Alaska, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. With high taxes and utilities, Rhode Island has never finished higher than 48th in CNBC’s rankings. The state has the highest unemployment rate in America, a poor infrastructure, and finished 45th for business friendliness.
To see the complete rankings, click here.