Industries

Virginia loses top spot in ‘Best States for Business’ ranking

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After four years as the nation’s best state for business, Virginia has slipped to No. 2 in an annual ranking by Forbes.com.

Utah, which placed third in 2009, passed the Old Dominion to claim the top spot this year.

Virginia economic development officials have used the Forbes.com ranking to promote the state to business prospects.

“Virginia still boasts a very favorable business climate, with an educated labor supply and solid economic growth,” writes reporter Kurt Badenhausen in an online story announcing the latest list. “But Virginia’s business costs (namely labor and energy) have crept up, which allowed Utah to leapfrog it.”

Other states in the top five are North Carolina, third; Colorado, fourth; and Washington, fifth.

Forbes.com cited the growth of Utah’s economy during the recession as major reason for ranking it No. 1 this year.

“Utah’s economy has expanded 3.5 percent annually over the past five years, faster than any other state except North Dakota,”  Badenhausen reports. “This is three-and-a-half times faster than the U.S. as a whole. Total employment in the U.S. has shrunk over the past five years, but in Utah it increased 1.5 percent annually, fourth-best in the nation. Household incomes have surged 5 percent annually, which is tops in the country and twice as fast as the national average.”

Other factors cited were Utah’s well-educated work force and low corporate tax rates, energy costs and level of poverty. Forbes also named Utah the country’s most fiscally fit government earlier this year.

The Forbes.com ranking, now in its fifth year, measures performance in six categories: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

       

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