24/7 Wall Street has published a lengthy article assessing the business climate in the %) US states. It’s a fairly comprehensive analysis, looking at 50 different criteria, including taxes, labor force characteristics, infrastructure, etc.
The bottom five states are fairly predictable. The top five aren’t, including political polar opposites.
Best five states for business:
- North Dakota
Utah, Massachusetts and Colorado benefit in particular from a highly educated labor force. That’s important for the technology sector that’s likely to drive economic growth in the future. Idaho and North Dakota are pro-business in the sense of having weak unions and low wages.
Massachusetts is the one state in the Northeast that isn’t losing population.
Five worst states for business, starting from the bottom:
- West Virginia
The bottom states share a common lack of an educated work force. Fewer than 1/4 of workers in Louisiana and Mississippi have bachelors degrees, and the percent employed in science and technology is in the very low single digits. West Virginia and Maine share these problems, just to less of an extreme. The local economies suffer from high poverty rates. Given the trend to robotize unskilled labor positions, the future in these states is scary. All five states are losing population.
Pennsylvania represents a special case of self-inflicted problems. The state has a poorly maintained highway infrastructure which is a drag on business growth. Pennsylvania really is bipolar. There are highly educated nuclei in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and State College, and then there’s everywhere else. It’s the modern version of Lincoln’s “house divided against itself”.