Recently, CNBC issued its annual rankings for America’s top states for business in 2012 (http://www.cnbc.com/id/46414199/). There are 51 measures for competitiveness that are summed up into 10 broad categories including cost of business, workforce, quality of life, economy, infrastructure and transportation, technology and innovation, education, business friendliness, access to capital and cost of living. The metrics were developed with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness. The metrics were weighted based on how frequently they are cited in state economic development marketing materials – the study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.
The top state was Texas which rated in the top 10 in workforce, economy, infrastructure and transportation, technology and innovation, access to capital and cost of living. Their lowest ranking was in quality of life – which was 35 out of 50. From personal experience, with the absence of a state income tax and a large pool of workers, Texas was a target location for placing businesses.
South Dakota ranked at #7 overall with top 10 rankings in cost of business, quality of life, and business friendliness. South Dakota scored a first place in business friendliness. Our lowest ranking was in access to capital at 48 out of 50. With the absence of a state income tax and an aggressive state economic development authority, it is no surprise that we rate high in business friendliness. It isn’t surprising that we rank low on access to capital which is where venture capitalists spend money as we also rank low in technology and innovation. There are some excellent local and state resources in both technology and innovation and venture capital resulting in many start-ups. As the fruits of this labor mature, additional venture capital will find its way to the state.
The other states in the area all finished high as well. North Dakota ranked at #5 overall with top 10 rankings in workforce, quality of life, economy and business friendliness. Nebraska ranked at #6 overall with top 10 rankings in economy and business friendliness. Minnesota ranked at #11 overall with top 10 rankings in quality of life and infrastructure and transportation. Iowa ranked at #12 overall with top 10 rankings in cost of business, economy and business friendliness.
The rankings show that the upper midwest states are fast becoming a strong economic engine for the country. With the continued efforts of the individual state’s economic development authorities, this position will continue to strengthen increasing the overall well being of its residents.