The battle is intense, and the stakes are high. All 50 states are competing like never before to attract business and jobs. But what does it take to be one of America's Top States for Business?
For the ninth year in a row, CNBC's exclusive annual study is putting every state to the test. Our unique and acclaimed methodology looks first at how the states try to sell themselves to business, then scores the states based on how well they deliver on those promises. We rate the states in 10 categories of competitiveness, so only the states that put it all together have what it takes to make it to the top. But because we rank all 50 states, everyone can see how their state stacks up.
Since we launched our rankings in 2007, America's Top States for Business has become the gold standard for competitiveness—one of the most frequently cited studies out there. States that do well are never shy about advertising their success, while states that do poorly frequently use our study as a benchmark for reform.
Which states could be poised for a move to the top in the 2015 ranking?
Minnesota spiked from No. 15 in 2013 to No. 6 last year, with North Carolina moving from No. 12 all the way up to No. 5.
Which states on the mend could pull off major surprises against stalwarts from within the top 10 like Texas, Virginia, Colorado and Utah?
South Carolina, which just made a splash with a big deal from Volvo for its first U.S. plant, moved all the way up from 37 in 2009 to 24 last year. Michigan, meanwhile, climbed from 41 in 2009 to 26 in 2014. And the biggest move of all over the past five years came from Nevada, digging out from its No. 47 hole in 2009 to No. 29 last year.
We know that regardless of rankings, every state has unique advantages, just as every business has unique needs. So we like to think of America's Top States for Business as a way to start important conversations about what it takes to compete.
That's why we bring you more than just the numbers. Keep coming back for special reports about important issues, like building a better workforce, the health-care debate, taxes, the best places to live and more. We'll bring you commentaries from the governors, as well as important insights from decision makers in business and beyond.
And coming soon, our 9th annual rankings of America's Top States for Business. As always, we want to know what you think. Give us your opinions here, and on Twitter using the hashtag #TopStates.