Virginia has been chosen as CNBC’s Top State for Business for 2019. The study, conducted every year since 2007, ranks all 50 states for business competitiveness using more than 60 metrics in 10 categories including Workforce, Economy, Quality of Life, and Cost of Doing Business.
“The war between the states for business and jobs has never been more intense, with states paying staggering amounts of taxpayer dollars to woo companies. The prizes are big — including Amazon’s promised $5 billion HQ2 project, and Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn’s $10 billion U.S. manufacturing complex. By the numbers, some states are better positioned than others to compete for projects like these, and for the thousands of other smaller developments up for grabs each year,” CNBC said in announcing this year’s results.
Virginia scored 1,610 out of 2,500 points, followed by Texas, North Carolina, Utah and Washington.
It is Virginia’s fourth win, having previously taken the title in 2007, 2009 and 2011. The state has the nation’s best workforce, including the fourth-highest concentration of science, technology, education and math (STEM) workers. Strong school test scores, small class sizes and a wealth of colleges and universities make Virginia’s education system the best in the nation, CNBC said. And with Virginia Tech University announcing plans to build a new campus adjacent to Amazon’s HQ2 focused on innovation, things could get even better.
How Virginia scored:
Best categories: Workforce (No. 1), Education (No. 1 – tied with Massachusetts), Business Friendliness (No. 3)
Worst categories: Cost of Doing Business (No. 35), Cost of Living (No. 32), Quality of Life (No. 17)
Economic growth (2018): 2.8%
Unemployment (May 2019): 3.0%
“Over the past decade Virginia has worked toward being a great place for all businesses to thrive,” said Victor Hoskins, incoming president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, who as director of Arlington County Economic Development led negotiations that attracted Amazon’s HQ2 project to Northern Virginia in 2018. “The consistent local and state investment in education, the outstanding commitment of the state to workforce training, and the consistent corporate tax environment of the last 30-plus years has really created a very strong pro-business environment that is matched at the local level. One of the things that’s very unique about the state of Virginia is that there’s an extremely strong collaboration between the state, regional and local entities and I think that makes a huge difference.”
“I am proud to bring the title of America’s top state for business back to Virginia,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “One of my primary goals has been to make Virginia the number one place to do business, and to do it in a way that benefits all Virginians and every region of the Commonwealth. This recognition underscores our work to build an inclusive and diversified economy, invest in our workforce, and create quality jobs—and is proof that companies of many different sizes and industries can find a home in Virginia.”
Since Northam took office in January 2018, the Commonwealth has secured more than $18.5 billion in statewide capital investment and created 50,000 new jobs. Northam has announced $2.5 billion in new capital investment in Virginia’s distressed communities, including significant projects with Volvo and Microsoft. Virginia has attracted major investments from leading companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Micron, and many other prominent businesses are choosing to deepen their roots in the Commonwealth.