CNBC released its annual business ratings this week. Connecticut did not fare well, falling into the bottom 10 states overall.
The business news cable outlet looked at a range of categories in developing America's Top States for Business 2012, including business costs, economy, infrastructure, workforce, business friendliness, and access to capital.
Connecticut ranked 44th overall, down from 39th last year. The state finished ahead of only Nevada, Mississippi, Alaska, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Rhode Island, which ranked last for the second consecutive year.
Texas number one
Texas ranked first overall, with Virginia, last year's top state, falling to third place behind Utah. North Carolina and North Dakota filled out the top five.[At 19th overall, New Hampshire was the highest-rated state in the Northeast, followed by Massachusetts (28); Pennsylvania (30); New York (34); Maine (35); Vermont (39); New Jersey (41); and Rhode Island.]
Among the 10 categories, Connecticut's biggest decline was in the quality and availability of its workforce, falling from 33rd to 40th. The category also assessed union membership and government sponsored workforce training and development programs.
The workforce rating supports the growing concern among Connecticut businesses--particularly manufacturers--about the state's shrinking pool of qualified job applicants.
Over the last 12 months, the state has pursued a number of initiatives aimed at addressing long-term workforce development and training issues, including financial incentives. Nonetheless, this remains an area that requires continued focus and resources.
The state's economy ranked 40th among all states, a modest improvement from 2011, when it was 44th. Wyoming's economy ranked first, followed by North Dakota, Iowa, Alaska, and Texas.
The cost of doing business
As for the cost of doing business? Connecticut was rated the fifth worst state, ahead of only New York, California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. Kentucky led this category, followed by Arkansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Iowa.
Among the other categories considered in the CNBC report, Connecticut:
- Fell one place to 12th for quality of life (First? New Hampshire);
- Tied for 43rd with Maryland for infrastructure and transportation (Texas);
- Ranked 18th for technology and innovation (New York);
- Climbed one spot to second for K-12 and higher education (New York, again);
- Jumped seven spots to 33rd for business friendliness (South Dakota)
- Finished in a tie for 15th with Minnesota for access to capital (California);
- Rated 48th for cost of living, ahead of only Alaska and Hawaii (Oklahoma)
The CNBC report rated North Dakota, Wyoming, and Idaho as the most improved states for doing business. North Dakota climbed eight spots to number five, while Wyoming improved to 10 from 21 and Idaho jumped from 31 to 13.
North Dakota's improvement was fueled by strong performances in a number of categories, including economy, business friendliness, quality of life, workforce, and infrastructure and transportation.
CNBC rated Massachusetts the biggest loser, with the state falling to 28th overall from sixth in 2011. Pennsylvania fell from 12th to 30th this year after being the most improved state last year.