CNBC Presents Coverage with Special Correspondent Scott Cohn Revealing the 2018 America's Top States for Business across CNBC Platforms on Tuesday, July 10th
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., June 19, 2018 – The war between the states for business and jobs has never been more intense or complicated, thanks to worker shortages, immigration crackdowns, trade tensions and tax reforms. But what gives some states the edge and leaves others bringing up the rear? America's Top States for Business will put it all in perspective.
Starting Monday, July 9th, CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, will broadcast coverage of its twelfth annual study of America's Top States for Business. The network will build a special event around this CNBC exclusive study with the complete rankings being revealed, along with the winning state and its governor, on Tuesday, July 10th, during the network's Business Day programming. The complete ranking for all 50 states will be available on CNBC.com and include an in-depth look at each of their respective rankings.
CNBC Special Correspondent Scott Cohn will broadcast live from the top-ranked state beginning on Monday and will announce the top five states on this year's list on "Squawk Box" (6AM-9AM ET) Tuesday.
CNBC Digital will reveal, in conjunction with on-air, the complete list of America's Top States for Business rankings on Tuesday, July 10th. In addition, topstates.cnbc.com will feature a wealth of coverage about each state including economic snapshots (employment, budget, tax and housing data) and exclusive stories looking at the unique issues facing the states this year, from labor shortages and crumbling infrastructure to the changing dynamics resulting from the new tax law.
Follow us on Twitter @CNBC and take part in the social conversation using hashtag #TopStates.
Every year since 2007, CNBC's exclusive study has ranked all 50 states based on their scores in ten categories of competitiveness. This year's study subjects the states to 64 metrics across those categories. The tried and true methodology rates the states based on the attributes that matter most to business. To do that, we scour every state's economic development marketing materials to see what they are pitching to business. The more frequently a selling point appears, the more weight it carries in the study.
So what makes a state great for business? These are the ten broad categories and the maximum possible points for each in 2018:
Workforce (425 points)
Most 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, the numbers of available employees, and net migration of college-educated workers. We consider each state's concentration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workers, increasingly in demand by business. We measure workforce productivity based on each state's economic output per job. We look at the relative success of each state's worker training programs in placing their participants in jobs. 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.
Infrastructure (400 points)
Access to transportation in all its modes is a key to getting your products to market and your people on the move. We measure the vitality of each state's transportation system by the value of goods shipped by air, waterways, roads and rail. We look at the availability of air travel in each state, the quality of the roads and bridges, and the time it takes to commute to work. We also consider the condition of each state's drinking water and wastewater systems.
Cost of Doing Business (350 points)
Cost is a major consideration when a company chooses where to do business. We look at the competitiveness of each state's tax climate, as well as state-sponsored incentives that can lower the cost of doing business. Utility costs can add up to a huge expense for business, and they vary widely by state. We also consider the cost of wages, as well as rental costs for office and industrial space.
Economy (300 points)
A solid economy is good for business. So is a diverse economy, with access to the biggest players in a variety of industries. We look at economic growth, job creation, consumer spending, and the health of the residential real estate market. We measure each state's fiscal health by looking at its credit ratings and outlook, its overall budget picture, and pension and retiree health care obligations. Because of their own economic impact as well as the ripple effect, we consider the number of major corporations headquartered in each state.
Quality of Life (300 points)
One way to attract qualified workers is to offer them a great place to live. We score the states on livability including several factors, such as the crime rate, the quality of health care, the level of health insurance coverage and the overall health of the population. We measure inclusiveness by looking at statewide anti-discrimination protections, as well as the ability of local jurisdictions to set their own standards. We evaluate local attractions, parks and recreation, as well as environmental quality.
Technology & Innovation (225 points)
Succeeding in the new economy—or any economy—takes innovation. Truly competitive states prize innovation, nurture new ideas, and have the infrastructure to support them. We evaluate the states on their support for innovation, and the number of patents issued to their residents. We also consider federal health, science and agricultural research grants to the states.
Education (200 points)
Education and business go hand in hand. Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, they also want to offer their employees a great place to raise a family. Higher education institutions offer companies a source to recruit new talent, as well as a partner in research and development. We consider the number of higher education institutions in each state as well as long-term trends in state support for higher education. We look at several measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending, and we look at technology infrastructure in the schools. We also look at life-long learning opportunities in each state.
Business Friendliness (150 points)
Regulation and litigation are the bane of business. Sure, some of each is inevitable. But we grade the states on the freedom their legal and regulatory frameworks provide for business.
Access to Capital (100 points)
Companies go where the money is, and capital flows to some states more than others. We look at venture capital investments by state, as well as traditional bank financing for small and mid-sized businesses.
Cost of Living (50 points)
The cost of living helps drive the cost of doing business. From housing to food and energy, wages go further when the cost of living is low. We measure the states based on an index of costs for basic items.
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