Biggest and Smallest Among Worst of Top States for Business

When it comes to the worst states in our Top States for Businessstudy, a handful almost always winds up in the final five spots. There's also usually little change in the bottom 10.

The former is once again true in our 2012 edition. But the latter certainly is not, with three states falling out.

Once again, Rhode Islandfinished last, scoring some 25 points less than Hawaii, a perennial bottom-five state. Those two and West Virginia(48) are the only three states to score less than 1,000 points (out of 2,500).

Three other states ranked pretty much where they were last year: Alaska(47/49), Mississippi (46/47),Nevada(45/45).

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New to the bottom 10 areConnecticut(44/39), Delaware(43/36) and New Jersey (41/30). (Check their respective state pages to see what happened.)

Louisiana held steady at 42.

Moving out of the bottom 10 were Vermont(39/44), New Mexico(36/43) and Alabama (38/41).

After six years of CNBC rankings, a bit of an unwanted rivalry may be forming between Alaska and Rhode Island. Though the Ocean State has finished last the past two years, Alaska has four last-place finishes. Neither state has ever ranked higher than 47.

Alaska'sperformance over the years is very similar to those of Hawaiiand Rhode Island, except it has never ranked 50th.

America's Top States For Business
America's Top States For Business

The big weight on their performance was the importantCost of Doing Businesscategory. All three states typically finish in the bottom five of the350-point category.

In addition, Alaska and Hawaii are among the most expensivestates in which to live, and thus perform poorly in the Cost of Livingcategory.

But, lest you think it's all underachievement, we should note that over the years each of these states have posted strong points in the following categories: Rhode Island in Education, Alaska in Economy and Hawaii Quality of Life.

In the last case, we assume that counts for a lot — to residents, as well as visitors from the other 49 states.