CNBC Presents Coverage with Special Correspondent Scott Cohn Revealing the 2021 America's Top States for Business across CNBC Platforms on Tuesday, July 13th
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., June 21, 2021 – The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the longstanding battle between the states for business and jobs over the last 16 months. With companies having to solve for return to work plans as well as create new initiatives around diversity, equity and inclusion, sustainability and technology, corporations have had to significantly pivot their operations to keep up. As the world begins to return to some sense of normalcy and the country gets back to business, America's Top States for Business is back to keep score.
Starting Monday, July 12th, CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, will broadcast coverage of its America's Top States for Business study. The network will build a special event around this CNBC exclusive study with the rankings being revealed on Tuesday, July 13th, 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 rankings for all 50 states on Tuesday, July 13th. In addition, topstates.cnbc.com will feature a variety of coverage about each state including economic snapshots (employment, budget, tax and housing data) and exclusive stories looking at the unique issues facing all of the states this year, from inclusiveness to sustainability to recovering in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Follow us on Twitter @CNBC and take part in the social conversation using hashtag #TopStates.
CNBC's exclusive study scores all 50 states on 85 metrics across ten categories of competitiveness. The methodology grades the states based on the qualities they deem most important in attracting business. To do that, CNBC assigns a weight to each of the ten categories by analyzing every state's economic development marketing materials. The more frequently a selling point appears, the more weight it carries in the study.
Here are the 2021 categories and weightings:
Cost of Doing Business (400 points – 16%)
At a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty, cost has returned to the forefront of competitiveness. We measure the strength of each state's business tax climate, as well as tax burdens for various types of businesses and facilities. We also measure wage and utility costs, as well as the cost of office and industrial space. And we consider incentives and tax breaks that states offer to reduce business costs, with special emphasis on incentives targeted toward development in disadvantaged communities.
Infrastructure (375 points – 15%)
The pandemic has sparked a worldwide reevaluation of supply chains, as well as where and how we work and travel. We measure the vitality of each state's transportation system by the value and volume of goods shipped by air, waterways, roads and rail. We look at the condition of highways and bridges, and the availability of air travel. We consider access to markets by measuring the population within 500 miles of each state. With the rise of remote work, we consider the quality, availability, and price of broadband service in each state. We rate each state's utility infrastructure, including the condition of drinking water and wastewater systems, and the reliability of the electrical grid. We measure each state's sustainability in the face of climate change. And we consider the availability of sites for expansion and development.
Life, Health & Inclusion (375 points – 15%)
Combine an era of enhanced social consciousness with a growing worker shortage, and it explains why, now more than ever, companies are demanding that states offer a welcoming and inclusive environment for employees. At the same time, the pandemic has put a new spotlight on health and health care resources. These new dimensions of quality of life led us to reimagine and rename this important category for 2021. We continue to rate the states on livability factors like per capita crime rates, health care and environmental quality. Because of the new outcry from businesses, we have expanded our measures of inclusiveness, looking more deeply at protections against discrimination, as well as at voting rights and current efforts to expand or restrict access to the polls, based on legislation enacted as of June 1, 2021. As the nation seeks to move past the pandemic, we look at Covid-19 vaccination rates, and we consider public health and hospital resources to deal with the lingering effects of the pandemic as well as potential future crises.
Workforce (325 points – 13%)
Even as millions of Americans remain out of work due to the pandemic, companies report they are having difficulty finding qualified workers. So, states are aggressively touting the quality of their workforces. We measure the educational attainment of each state's working-age population, as well as which states are attracting college-educated workers—and which states are losing them. With skilled workers in particular demand, we consider each state's concentration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workers. We measure worker productivity based on economic output per job. We look at union membership and right to work laws. And we measure the availability of workers, as well as the diversity of each state's workforce.
Economy (250 points – 10%)
Particularly in uncertain times, companies are seeking states with stable finances and solid economies. We examine the strength of each state's recovery by looking at economic growth and job growth over the past year. We measure each state's fiscal condition by looking at its credit ratings and outlook, its overall budget picture including spending, revenues and reserves, as well as pension obligations. We rate the health of the residential real estate market. Because a diverse economy is important in any environment, we consider the number of major corporations headquartered in each state.
Business Friendliness (200 points – 8%)
As companies seek to emerge from the crisis, they are following the path of least resistance. That includes a legal and regulatory framework that does not overburden business. We measure each state's lawsuit and liability climates, regulatory regimes covering areas such as trade and labor, as well as overall bureaucracy.
Access to Capital (175 points – 7%)
The abrupt shutdown of much of the economy left businesses of all sizes scrambling for capital, and states doing what they could to help. As a result, access to capital, which in prior years was mentioned by only a handful of capital-rich states, is now a feature of almost every state's marketing and thus is a bigger factor in our rankings than in the past. We measure the maximum amount of state-funded Covid-related grants, loans, and loan guarantees. We also consider federal aid through the U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) by state. Beyond COVID-19, we consider overall venture capital investments, as well as traditional bank lending by state with an emphasis on loans to small businesses.
Technology & Innovation (175 points – 7%)
Truly competitive states prize innovation, nurture new ideas, and have the resources to support them. We measure the states based on results, including the number of patents issued per capita, as well as health, science and agriculture research grants. We measure the vitality of each state's technology ecosystem based on people, companies, and investment.
Education (150 points – 6%)
Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, but 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 also consider historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which companies are increasingly seeking to partner with. We look at multiple measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending. We also look at life-long learning opportunities in each state.
Cost of Living (75 points – 3%)
With increasing concerns about potential inflation, companies and workers are seeking states where prices are stable and daily living is affordable. 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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