Forbes Ranks Virginia State Best For Business

October 19, 2010  |  

The Forbes list of the Best States to do Business evaluates the desirability of doing business in a state, based on data in 6 categories: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects  and quality of life.  In comparison to the rest of the country, Forbes reports that Virginia is booming.  The state finished in the top three in the six broad categories that were measured for economic health (labor supply, regulatory environment and quality of life).  The state ranked number 10 with a $325 billion economy.

North Dakota,, Oregon and Iowa made upward moves on the Forbes list.  The most remarkable improvement is in the state of Alaska which moved up five spots from last year to 42nd on the list, and is predicted to have the highest job growth of any state the next five years.  states moving down on the list  included Florida, Nevada, Arizona and New Jersey which had a big fall.  Negatives for business considering New Jersey include high business taxes and poor growth in come, jobs and overall economic growth over the past five years.

Overall, the best business climate for the fourth straight year in a row has been ranked in Virginia.  Although the state gets high rankings, according to Moody’s , reports that the unemployment rate in Virginia is at 60% with gross state product flat, and household incomes expected to fall 4%.  Despite these numbers, the state’s incentives include a focus on a developing a highly educated workforce through economic development departments and programs.  The Virginia Jobs Investments Program offers employee recruiting and job training for business.  More than 2,400 companies and 75,000 Virginians have been helped by the program over the past five years.  Forbes predicts that Virginia is expected to expand.

The national economic downturn is affecting employment opportunities, foreclosures and bankruptcies, but somewhat unevenly.  As reported in Forbes, during the last quarter of 2009 only Alaska and North Dakota were expected to see employment gains with Maryland and North Dakota  Other plusses for the state include low energy costs – 30% below the national average.  The Pacific Research Institute ranked the state’s tort environment the 5th in the country.  And, the state government’s finance was rated top notch  at AAA from Moody’s since 1971.  The public companies headquartered in Virginia with more than $10 billion in revenues include Altria, Capital One Financial, and General Dynamics.

Louisiana is also using workforce development plans following the damage done by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and has moved up 5 spots on the list.  The state’s Louisiana FastStart program has changed the perception of Louisiana’s workforce from a concern to a selling point” according to Stephen Moret, head of Louisiana Economic Development.

Virginia’s approach of helping companies with a workforce that is educated, trained and recruited, even during tough economic times is helping to feed the business machine that feeds the people.  Coupled with the desirable regulatory environment, the training and development of the local workforce de-incentivizes companies from outsourcing.

Candi Sparks is the author of the “Can I Have Some Money?” books series.

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