Area Development

Americas Top States For Business 2011: #5 Colorado (1/6)


Americas Top States For Business 2011: #4 Georgia (2/6)


Americas Top States For Business 2011: #3 North Carolina (3/6)


Americas Top States For Business 2011: #2 Texas (4/6)



Americas Top States For Business 2011: #1 Virginia (5/6)

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America's deepening economic crisis is changing the way states market themselves to business, reveals data in CNBC's fifth annual study of America's Top States for Business.

The report ranks all 50 states using 43 metrics in 10 ten broad competitive categories, with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness. Then the states were ranked using their own criteria; e.g., the selling points they use to attract business via their own marketing materials.

Here are the 10 winners, by category:

  • Overall: #1 Virginia

  • Cost of Doing Business: #1 Iowa

  • Workforce: #1 Arizona

  • Quality of Life: #1 Hawaii

  • Economy: #1 North Dakota

  • Infrastructure & Transportation: #1 Texas

  • Technology & Innovation: #1 California

  • Education: #1 New York

  • Business Friendliness: #1 Delaware

  • Access to Capital: #1 California

  • Cost of Living: #1 Kentucky

Interestingly, CNBC noted that "the changing sales pitch by the states has literally changed the rules of the game-perhaps more than ever before in the five-year history of the study."

For the first time since the study has been conducted, this year the states de-emphasized their cost of doing business; including taxes and utility rates.

"That could be because states are facing pressure to raise taxes or lower business incentives in order to balance their budgets," said CNBC. "States have suffered their steepest decline in tax receipts in the 1930s according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, leaving 45 states with projected budget shortfalls in the next fiscal year." By downplaying their tax climates, states "may be choosing not to promise what they can't deliver."

Overall, the 2011 study found states are increasing touting the positive aspects of a negative economy-such as an abundance of available workers-rather than boasting about their low costs. The Quality of Life and Transportation/Infrastructure categories became more prominent, too, as states are increasingly identifying themselves as ideal locations. The Economy category "has become slightly less common of a selling point," noted the study's authors.