CNBC Study: South Dakota Is Best State For Cost Of Doing Business


South Dakota may not be home to Big Business, but business must surely feel at home there, seeing as how the Great Plains state ranked No 1 in the all-important Cost of Doing Business category in America's Top States For Business2008.

South Dakota scored 352 out of a possible 450 points (the most of the ten categories), edging out Iowa (342) Arkansas (338), North Dakota (333) and Idaho (327).

As our study notes, Cost of Doing Business is certainly a “a major consideration when a company chooses a state.” In particular, we looked at the taxes, employment costs (including worker’s compensation insurance) and rental costs.

South Dakota is clearly focused on keeping those costs low, as it ranked No. 3 in the category in 2007.

New York(50), Alaska (49) and California ((48) rank at the bottom. New York and California are clearly two states associated with high taxes, real estate costs and worker compensation. Alaska is just plain expensive.

With such a strong showing in the top category, it is no surprise South Dakota ranked 7 overall in our study. Helping that rank were strong showings in three other categories was Business Friendliness (2), Economy (14) and Workforce (17).

When measured the states in June, South Dakota had one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates (3.0%) and highest economic growth rates (2.3%), both of which have no doubt benefited from the commodities boom, whether it is farming or mining.

To be sure, South Dakota is not shy about touting its virtues. Its Economic Development website has an impressive section devoted to doing business in the state, with a number of tools, including one that allows you to compare business costs with the other 49 states.

If you’re looking for reasons why Big Business make not be flocking there, other than its small population (about 796,000), South Dakota ranks 50 in Technology & Innovation, 49 in Quality Of Life and 44 in Access To Capital.