CNBC named Virginia the best US state for business in 2021


CNBC named Virginia the best US state for business in 2021

Virginia took first place in CNBC's 2021 rankings of the best US states for business, boasting a solid workforce and a robust education system after over a year of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commonwealth also took top honors from the previous CNBC review in 2019, becoming the first state to achieve back-to-back wins. This is Virginia's fifth win since CNBC first released its annual rankings in 2007, more than any other state. The business channel did not remove a listing in 2020 due to the pandemic.

CNBC scored all 50 states in 10 categories of competitiveness, including infrastructure, economics, cost of living, and access to capital. Each attribute is rated based on how frequently each state uses it as a selling point in economic development marketing materials.

Speaking near the busy port of Norfolk alongside Speaker of the House Eileen Feller Korn and other members of the Virginia General Assembly, Northam welcomed the result as "a testament to Virginia's workers, our education system, our commitment to diversity, and our strong work climate."

He has capitalized on recent investments in broadband Internet, increased teacher salaries, expanded early childhood education, community colleges, and green energy as factors in keeping Virginia number one twice in a row.

"Virginia proves that when you treat people right, it is good for everything, and it is good for business," Northam said. "Our path forward couldn't be more clear: We have to keep pace with these policies that we know support business and the economy and are open and welcoming to all."

Virginia scored high on education, workforce, access to capital, business friendliness, and overall health of its economy but came in the middle of the group in terms of cost of living and doing business.

But overall, the Commonwealth countries scored the highest, North Carolina came in second, and Utah ranked third. They were coming out this year: Alaska.

Citing census data, CNBC found that 39% of Virginia workers have a bachelor's degree or higher, according to the US Bureau of Labor, Virginia ranks third in the country for the highest concentration of science, technology, engineering, and matching workers.

"This year's study has always been a verdict on which states are best prepared to emerge from the pandemic successfully, and Virginia is the clear winner in that outcome," CNBC reporter Scott Cohen said. "Not only does she have the talent that companies crave, but she's also taken major strides in inclusivity, which is especially important this year."

Maryland took 12th place, but it still beats Virginia in the infrastructure and technology innovation categories. Notably, Maryland had the most significant year-over-year improvement of any state, jumping 19 points from 31st place in 2019.

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