News Column

Forbes: 'Right to Work' Prominent in Best States for Business Ranking

Dec. 12, 2012

Utah tops Forbes' ranking of Best States For Business for the third straight year, followed by Virginia (No. 2), North Dakota (No. 3) and North Carolina (No. 4). Rounding out the top five is Colorado (No. 5).

"Forbes Best States for Business is the scorecard for the business climates of the 50 states," said Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen. "The right-to-work issue is more prominent than ever in our rankings, as all but one of the top 10 (No. 5 Colorado) are right-to-work states, while No. 46 Mississippi is the only right-to-work state to rank in the bottom 10."

Utah has a pro-business climate where companies benefit from energy costs that are 29% below the national average. The state's economy has expanded at 2.3% a year over the past five years, which is fifth best in the U.S. Virginia has ranked in the top two in the seven years Forbes has published the list, ranking first between 2006 and 2009. The state has a widely diverse economy that includes local and federal government, military, farming and manufacturing. People have been flocking to North Carolina over the past five years, as the state has the highest net migration rate in the U.S. The state has the smallest union workforce in terms of percent of total employment, resulting in labor costs that are 19% below the national average and third lowest in the U.S. Colorado has a robust economy and outdoor recreational opportunities, and, at 36%, Colorado adults have the second highest level of college attainment, behind Massachusetts (No. 17).

The Top Ten:

1. Utah

2. Virginia

3. North Dakota

4. North Carolina

5. Colorado

6. Nebraska

7. Texas

8. Georgia

9. Oklahoma

10. Iowa


Georgia (No. 8) and Oklahoma (No. 9) replace Washington and Oregon, No. 7 and No. 9 in 2011 respectively, in the Top 10. The Best States ranking measures six vital categories for businesses: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. We factor in 35 points of data to determine the ranks in the six main areas.

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Source: Copyright Business Wire 2012

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