State Falls in Forbes Business Rankings
Based on Forbes‘ 2015 Best States for Business rankings, there are places in the U.S. where the economy is thriving, driven by low costs, strong workforces, and a lack of government red tape.
Unfortunately, Connecticut has much ground to cover to join them, falling three places to 39th in the magazine’s annual survey of state business climates.
Connecticut’s high cost of doing business, regulatory burden, and the state’s slow economic growth all contributed to the latest ranking.
Forbes measures six key areas when compiling its best states list: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects, and quality of life.
Connecticut ranked 45th for business costs (down from 47th last year) which include energy, labor, and taxes. Only Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have higher costs.
The cost of doing business in Connecticut is 11% higher than than the national average, Forbes said, due in large part to energy costs, which are 64% higher.
Forbes ranked the state’s regulatory environment (including labor regulations, healthcare mandates, licensing, tort system) 41st, down four spots from 2014.
Our economic climate, measured by job, income, and gross state product growth as well as average unemployment over the past five years, remained unchanged at 44th, second worst among the New England states.
The state has added 27,000 jobs over the last 12 months and unemployment fell to 5.2% in September, the lowest rate since April 2008.
Connecticut’s growth prospects fell one spot to 29th this year. That category reflects employment, income, and gross state product growth forecasts over the next five years, as well as capital investments and business openings and closings.
Forbes now ranks Connecticut at 25th for labor supply (down from 20th last year), which factors net migration, high school and college graduation rates, and projected population growth.
Quality of life
The state’s quality of life–measuring crime data, cost of living, education, and health and wellness–was ranked fourth (down from third last year).
The Forbes’ rankings follow CNBC’s annual America’s Top States for Business study, released earlier this year, which saw Connecticut jump 13 places to 33rd overall.
Connecticut’s strong performance in the CNBC rankings reflected the cable outlet switching its focus away from the state’s biggest weakness—high costs—to its greatest strength, a skilled workforce.
Like Forbes, CNBC ranks Connecticut poorly for the cost of doing business (47th), although Forbes places greater emphasis on costs than CNBC.
Utah ranked first
Utah topped the Forbes rankings for the second consecutive year, finishing in the top six in five of the study’s key categories, based on light regulation, energy costs that are 23% below the national average, the third strongest employment growth in the country over the last five years.
North Carolina rose one spot to finish second; Nebraska jumped five positions to third overall; North Dakota dropped from second to fourth; and Colorado remained in fifth,
West Virginia was ranked last, down from 48th last year. Mississippi, Maine, New Mexico, and Rhode Island rounded out the bottom five.
MIchigan was the most improved of all states, climbing 12 spots to 30th, while Maryland had the biggest decline, falling from 20th to 33rd.
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