CNBC released its annual state business rankings this week, with Connecticut slipping one position to 45th overall.
The business news cable outlet looked at a range of categories in developing America's Top States for Business 2013, including business costs, economy, infrastructure, workforce, business friendliness, and access to capital.
Connecticut declined for a third consecutive year, its ranking impacted by several key factors:
- The cost of doing business: fell from 43rd last year to 46th;
- Quality of life: dropped five positions to 17th;
- Infrastructure and transportation: fell from 43rd to 49th, ahead of Hawaii only;
- Access to capital: dropped five positions to 19th;
- Education: second overall in 2012, now fifth.
Connecticut did show improvement in business friendliness, improving to 26th from 33rd last year for that metric. Workforce quality and availability also rose, from 40th to 37th this year.
Overall, the state finished ahead of only Nevada, California, West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.
South Dakota Tops List
South Dakota surged from seventh in 2012 to the number one spot this year, dropping Texas to second overall. North Dakota, Nebraska, and Utah filled out the top five.
At 16th overall, Massachusetts was the highest-ranked state in the Northeast, jumping 12 spots from last year and along with Delaware, showing the best improvement of any of the 50 states. The Bay State showed the worst decline of any state in 2012, falling to 28th from sixth.
Massachusetts owes much of its resurgence to solid economic growth, improving to third place from 21st last year. The state also saw significant improvement in infrastructure, workforce, and business friendliness.
Among the other northeastern states, New Hampshire fell from 19th to 27th; Vermont climbed seven places to 32nd; New York ranked 35th (34 in 2012); Maine was 38th (35); Pennsylvania dropped from 30th to 39th; New Jersey was 42nd (41); and Rhode Island improved one position from 2012's last place finish.
CNBC ranked Connecticut's economy 39th, up one position from last year. Last month, a Bureau of Economic Analysis report found the state's economy actually shrank in 2012, the only state not to show growth.
Connecticut continued to decline in the cost of doing business. Only four states -- Massachusetts, Hawaii, New York, and California -- were ranked more expensive for tax burdens, utility costs, and salaries and benefits.
South Dakota ranked best for business costs, followed by Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Montana.
The fall to second worst for infrastructure and transportation highlights Connecticut's ongoing issues with funding and maintaining its roads, bridges, and transit systems.
And Connecticut's fall in the quality of life rankings, where it usually performs well, should cause additional concern for state officials, as that is a key factor used to attract and retain companies.