Top Ten Best States for Business 2013

Every year data is compiled based on various categories including cost of doing business, workforce, quality of life, infrastructure and transportation, economy, education, technology and innovation, business friendliness, cost of living to determine the overall best states for business in the United States. Every year CNBC compiles this data and presents their list of the best states for business. Here are the top ten best states for business in for 2013:



The state of Idaho rates pretty well across the board as being one of the top ten ten states to live in. The cost of business in Idaho is pretty low and so is the cost of living. The areas which are currently holding Idaho back from being ranked higher are access to capital and technology and innovation. If Idaho can come up with a plan to address these two issues, it wouldn’t be surprising to consistently see Idaho rated in the top five.



Despite being, by far, the least populated state in the country, Wyoming has a lot to offer. The cost of doing business in Wyoming is among the lowest in the country and business friendly legislation also make it easy. The workforce is both available and educated in Wyoming which also makes it a great place to be. The only major issue for Wyoming is access to capital. They rank thirty-ninth in the nation in that category. This means the state doesn’t attract startups and other business pursuits very well. This is also reflected in their technology and innovation score of being ranked forty-seventh in the nation.



Georgia ranks as having the number one overall workforce in the nation. As a result, businesses are attracted to Georgia in order to utilize the most important form of capital of all, people. With easy access to capital, high education levels, a stables economy, and above average infrastructure, Georgia is an enticing place to live. The areas where Georgia struggles the most is the overall quality of life. This is a result of the crowded surroundings and often bad traffic coming in and out of Atlanta. The cost of doing business in Georgia also ranks slightly higher than the national average.



Over the last decade and a half, Colorado has experienced some of the fastest growth in the nation and is finally maturing. With high scores in quality of life, technology and innovation, access to capital, Colorado has succeeded at attracting businesses around the United States. Several places in Colorado including Boulder and Denver have a thriving startup community and is growing rapidly. The only major areas where Colorado lacks is overall cost of doing business, which they currently rank as one of the worst states, infrastructure where they rank in the bottom half, and also cost of living.



The state of Virginia enjoys ample government money being pumped into its economy every year and as a result attracts some of the brightest minds in the nation. They currently rank number eight in the country in terms of the education level of the workforce. Virginia also receives high marks in overall workforce, business friendliness, overall economy, technology and innovation, and access to capital. The only major area where Virginia lacks in is the cost of doing business where they are rated thirty-eighth in the country.




Although, Utah doesn’t rank particularly high any one category, Utah consistently ranks better than average in nearly every category. Some of the areas where Utah ranks highest in is business friendliness with an overall ranking of fourth in the country, access to investment capital where they rank seventh in, and the overall economy where they rank tenth. The only major gap Utah currently has in their overall ranking is education level of the workforce. In this category Utah ranks as a lousy thirty-ninth. With the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and great skiing, it is no wonder why businesses and people flock to Utah.



For the first time ever in CNBC’s top states to live has Nebraska entered into the top five. Nebraska is widely considered one of the most business-friendly states in the country. The tax burden in Nebraska is considered to be pretty light overall as a result of tax reform which has been occurring over the last several years. As a result, the currently rank tenth overall in cost of doing business. The local economy in Nebraska isn’t too shabby either. They currently rank number four in the country. Other areas where Nebraska shines is overall quality of life where they also rank fourth. The only areas where Nebraska ranks significantly lower than average in are technology and innovation and education. After all, if Nebraska is good enough for Warren Buffett, it s likely good enough for your business as well.


North Dakota

The state of North Dakota is currently going through an economic renaissance due to the oil boom currently taking place.  North Dakota ranks just behind the number two state, Texas, in economy and infrastructure. In some sense though, North Dakota is its own worst enemy. With the country’s lowest unemployment rate, qualified workers are in short supply, which in turn causes wages to increase dramatically. Although initially this is a good thing, it also causes the cost of living to inflate as well. These growing pains have left North Dakota with one of the highest commercial rental rates in the country. As soon as more space becomes available in the upcoming years, this pain should start to slowly go away. It is also considered pretty costly overall to do business in North Dakota despite business-friendly legislation. It is a great place for the young people of the United States to migrate to in order to start their career and make some pretty good money in the process.



The cliche “everything is bigger in Texas” is true in many regards. Texas ranks number one in the country in infrastructure quality and availability. It also ranks number one in overall economy. Due to business friendly state policies and a number of new businesses appearing in the startup mecca of Austin, the economy is thriving. This is also a result of the easy access to capital Texans enjoy. The state unemployment level in Texas is significantly less than the national average. Additionally, Texas rates number two in the nation in terms of technology and innovation just behind New York. Other areas where Texas thrives includes education of the workforce, workforce availability, and cost of living. The only area where Texas scored below the national average is quality of life. The flat plains of Texas can make for boring surroundings. Other than that, Texas is the place to be right now.


South Dakota

South Dakota features one of the lowest tax burdens in the country with no individual or corporate income taxes and low sales and property taxes. It also has among the lowest utility rates, wages, and rent costs. In terms of the state’s business regulatory climate, it rates number 2 in the country just behind the long-time favorite Delaware. The unemployment rate in South Dakota is incredibly low. In fact, workforce availability is one area where South Dakota received some negative feedback on due to a lack of qualified unemployed individuals. The state also enjoys a strong overall economy and rates sixth overall in the country. On top of relatively low crime rates, some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and great qualify of life makes South Dakota the best place to conduct business in the United States this year.


Featured image: Flickr by Pete Markham

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