Vermont again ranks near bottom of Forbes list of ‘Best States for Business’

first_img1 Index based on cost of labor, energy and taxes. 2 Measures educational attainment, net migration and projected population growth. 3 Measures regulatory and tort climate, incentives, government integrity, transportation and bond ratings. 4 Reflects job, income and gross state product growth as well as unemployment and presence of big companies. 5 Reflects projected job, income and gross state product growth as well as business openings/closings and venture capital investments. 6 Index of schools, health, crime, cost of living and poverty ratesSources: Moody’s Economy.com; Pollina Corporate Real Estate; Pacific Research Institute; Tax Foundation; Sperling’s Best Places; Better Government Association; Census Bureau; SBA; FBI; Dept. of Education; Forbes. Source: Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/13/best-states-for-business-business-beltw…(link is external) Forbes magazine released its annual report on the Best States for Business and Vermont, once again, was near the bottom. What little good news one could take from this is that the state actually rose two spots to 45th. Utah took over number one from longtime leader Virginia. Vermont was especially punished in the categories of business costs, regulation and growth prospects. The state’s best categories were labor force (16) and quality of life (15). The latter seems to be somewhat of a head scratcher, perhaps, as states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania finished well ahead of Vermont, even though the description says it measured schools, health, crime, cost of living and poverty rates and that several other national rankings put Vermont near or at the top of states with the highest quality of life.The business cost index was based on cost of labor, energy and taxes; the labor index measured educational attainment, net migration and projected population growth; the regulation index measured regulatory and tort climate, incentives, government integrity, transportation and bond ratings; the economic climate index measured job, income and gross state product growth as well as unemployment and presence of big companies; and the growth prospects category measured projected job, income and gross state product growth as well as business openings/closings and venture capital investments.While Vermont is struggling with population and business growth, and has the reputation of being highly regulated, all damning qualities in this ranking, the overall rankings show imbalance. For instance, California (39 in 2010, 38 in 2009) and Florida (26 and 18), with their dismal economies that have been a drag on the US economy as a whole, do not seem nearly low enough. Oregon (6 and 10) has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation at 10.6 percent. This is a full point higher than the US rate and 4.6 points higher than Vermont’s rate.While it would be easy to write-off the Forbes ranking as partisan ‘ as the magazine is steeped in Republican politics and its CEO has twice run for president ‘ the list is not a knee-jerk homage to the blue-state, red-state paradigm. The top state, Utah, is perhaps the most Republican state in the nation. But all the next five states in the ranking voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election.What seems to be the most common themes in what Forbes calls “fostering growth” amongst the states, with Western and Southern states generally fairing better, are easier regulation and cheaper energy. The top New England states are Massachusetts (16 and 34) and New Hampshire (19 and 19), which are the only two in the top half.Utah looks like a clear winner by most measures. Utah’s economy has expanded 3.5 percent annually over the past five years, faster than any other state except North Dakota. This is three-and-a-half times faster than the US as a whole. Total employment in the US has shrunk over the past five years, but in Utah it increased 1.5 percent annually, fourth-best in the nation. Its unemployment rate is 7.4 percent. Household incomes have surged 5 percent annually, which is tops in the country and twice as fast as the national average. Rank 2010, Rank 2009, State, Costs, Labor, Regulation, Climate, Growth, Quality 13Utah8561201821Virginia2432414635North Carolina31531893244Colorado3311566952Washington282511429610Oregon1843414122178Texas262117213886Georgia31713073599Nebraska623281240141015Kansas231811133027117North Dakota43725333231211Idaho1719292019201314Iowa740191739131412Maryland4989192981517Minnesota30832371341634Massachusetts501013222811716South Dakota13237546251829Missouri153972636261919New Hampshire4064732522021Delaware1213314716362132New York432923922112223Tennessee103844423432336Arizona361238157372413Montana1911401042342528Alabama2142102910462618Florida371422363392722Wyoming22449848312831Nevada1327332417472930Indiana1043164832193033Pennsylvania343421164373143Kentucky845264015333226Arkansas1444242521443320Oklahoma164120750413425South Carolina262884326453527New Mexico223235312493635Connecticut451739233533724Illinois3930183438243837Ohio3247124637123938California4425432811224045New Jersey462041333354146West Virginia548463823404242Alaska2931422727424348Wisconsin3536363447104444Louisiana2550274118504547Vermont4216453945154639Hawaii4721442141284749Michigan3846144249304840Mississippi2049304931484950Rhode Island4134505023175041Maine472648454416last_img

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