Workforce (300 points)
Many states point with great pride to the quality and availability of their workers, as well as government-sponsored programs to train them. We rate states based on the education level of their workforce, as well as the numbers of available workers. We also consider union membership and the states' right-to-work laws. While organized labor contends that a union workforce is a quality workforce, that argument, more often than not, does not resonate with business. We also look at the relative success of each state's worker-training programs in placing their participants in jobs.
Quality of Life (300 points)
The best places to do business are also the best places to live. We score the states on several factors, including crime rate and health care and the percent of the population with health insurance. We evaluate local attractions, parks and recreation, as well as environmental quality.
Technology & Innovation (300 points)
Succeeding in the new economy—or any economy—takes innovation. The top states for business prize innovation, nurture new ideas and have the infrastructure to support them. We evaluate the states on their support for innovation, the number of patents issued to their residents and the record of high-tech business formation. We also consider federal health, science and agricultural research grants to the states.
Business Friendliness (200 points)
Regulation and litigation are the bane of business. Sure, some of each is inevitable. But we grade the states on the freedom their regulatory frameworks provide, as well as the perceived friendliness of their legal and tort liability systems.