It turns out that Connecticut has some definite strengths, and those strengths play directly to what businesses are looking for most these days. That is why Connecticut jumps 13 spots in our rankings this year, tying with New Mexico for 2015's Most Improved State.
Remember, we're giving extra weight to our Workforce category in this year's methodology. That's because it is the selling point states are mentioning the most, as businesses clamor for skilled workers. Now we are singing Connecticut's tune.
Connecticut workers are among the most educated in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of state residents 25 and over, 37 percent have a college degree. Connecticut workers are also among the most productive in the nation, based on economic output per job. It doesn't hurt that Connecticut has a relatively small population at about 3.6 million people, with many working in high-output industries, like finance, insurance and business services. But that just speaks to the fact that the state is an economic and intellectual force.
Okay, back to reality—and back to the bad news. Yes, Connecticut improves 13 spots in our rankings, but that only means it ranks 33rd, up from a lowly 46th-place finish last year.
Read MoreState incentives: Business boon or corporate welfare?
A mainstay of the state economy, General Electric has been headquartered in Fairfield for more than 40 years but is threatening to move after lawmakers approved a $1.2 billion tax hike, much of it aimed at businesses. And a campaign by the state's business community to make Connecticut a top 20 state in our rankings by 2017 remains an uphill climb.