Virginia Falls to Third in CNBC's Top States for Business 2012

Virginia is no longer the top state for business, falling to third placein CNBC's sixth annual study, "America's Top States for Business.”

The top state, as well as the complete rankings, will be revealed by study creator Scott Cohn on "Closing Bell"at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT, as part of the network’s day-long countdown of the top five states in its exclusive and influential study.

The other states to make the top five are:North Carolinaat No. 4 andNorth Dakotaat No. 5.

Virginia, which has won the CNBC study three times over the years, suffered from steep declines in categories such as Transportationand Cost of Doing Business, and barely edged out North Carolina for the third spot. Virginia, however, did fare well again in the Workforce and Education categories.

The second-ranked state will be revealed at approximately 2:20 p.m. EDT on the "Street Signs"program.

Thus far, the biggest surprise is North Dakota, which tied for 13th in 2011. The state’s ascent is partly a result of its booming oil-shale economy.

How We Score

This year's rankings are based on the same 10 categoriesas years past, but the 51 criteria have been tweaked to reflect changes in the ways the states market themselves.

This year, at the suggestion of a number of state officials, we've added state credit ratings to the criteria, which are used to help score our Economy category.

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

All of the data in the categories — developed with the assistance of groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness — are publicly available.

We like to think America’s Top States for Business is the most thorough study of state competitiveness out there, and it always generates lots of conversation, in the top states, the bottom states and everywhere in between. And this year we want to give you more opportunities than ever to talk about your state.

Let us hear from you, onFacebook, Google+ and on Twitter using the hashtag #TopStates. We’re also inviting all 50 governors to chime in and make the case for why their state should be on top.

Which state has what it takes to be No. 1? Watch Scott Cohn on CNBC today as he reveals the winner and runner-up in America’s Top States for Business 2012.