Forbes: Virginia Tops for Business

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 03:56 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Virginia is the No.1 state in the nation for business, while, for the fourth straight year, Maine is rated the worst, a new survey by Forbes reveals.

Forbes gave the Old Dominion the top ranking for its "business-friendly" incentives and the way it handles legal claims against businesses.

As well, "Virginia is also one of 24 right-to-work states, which explains why only 4.4 percent of its workers are in unions — fifth-lowest in the U.S.," according to Forbes.
Virginia’s $446 billion economy "held up better than most states during the Great Recession . . . ."

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Maine maintains its poor ranking because it is "still burdened with an aging population and a weak economic forecast. Job growth projections are the worst in the U.S." for the Pine Tree State, Forbes said.

North Dakota finished a close second, after Virginia, thanks to its having "the country’s most robust economy over the past five years."

"It is tops for job growth (3.7 percent annually), income growth (3.8 percent), gross state product growth (7.9 percent) and employment (3.6 percent average jobless rate)," Forbes said.

Last year’s No. 1 state, Utah, fell to No. 3 overall, because job and income growth has slowed relative to the rest of the country.

Forbes said the state with the biggest gain was Minnesota, which rocketed 12 positions to No. 8.

It improved "on the strength of an improved economic outlook," and also scores high on "good schools, low poverty rate, and [a] healthy population."

The state with the most significant fall was Wyoming, which plummeted eight spots to No. 23 because its "economy has slowed and is expected to expand at just a 1.5 percent annual clip through 2017, worst in the U.S.," Forbes said.

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