America's Top States for Business 2009

CNBC's Top States For Business 2009—Most-Improved States

Iowa, Massachusetts and Nebraska.

All three can make a good case for being the most-improved state in 2009. They also cut their 2008 rankingmore or less in half.

Nebraska moved the most spaces, improving to 11, (vs. 22 a year ago.)

Massachusetts cracked the top ten, finishing No. 8(15 in 2008).

Iowa had the best showing in the overall rankings, 4, (8 last year).

Given the change in our criteria, including the total number of possible points, however, it is hard to determine a clear winner in this unofficial category.

What’s more, though all of them improved in some of the ten categories, they slipped in others.

Iowa finished No. 1 in the keyCost of Doing Business category worth 450 points (2/2008), while neither Nebraska or Massachusetts made the top ten. The Hawkeye State also was 4th in Economy(29/2008) Iowa just missed the top ten in Business Friendliness (11/11) and Education (14/15).

Massachusetts’ best showing was Education (No. 1, as was the case in 2008), scoring 159 of a possible 175 points. It also scored high in Access To Capital (2/2), but the category carries only a maximum of 50 points, Quality of Life (6/15) and Technology and Innovation (5/4).

Nebraska cracked the top ten in two categories—Economy (7/28) and Business Friendliness (6/28) and just missed in two others—Cost of Living (11/7) and Cost of Doing Business (12/19).