Our study is not an opinion survey. We rely on tangible numbers to gauge each state's performance, scoring all 50 states on more than 60 measures of competitiveness, using publicly available data.
To identify our metrics, we seek input from a broad and diverse array of business and policy experts, official government sources, the CNBC Global CFO Council and the states themselves.
States receive points based on their rankings in each metric. We separate those metrics into 10 broad categories. We then assign a point weighting to each category based on how frequently it is used as a selling point in state economic development marketing materials. For example, if more states tout their low business costs, the "Cost of Doing Business" category carries greater weight. That way, our study ranks the states based on the criteria they use to sell themselves.
Here are our categories and this year's weightings.