Best and Worst States for Business

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46. Mississippi
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.1% (6th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $42,488 (the lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 21.9% (2nd lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.2 per 100,000 people (3rd fewest)

Despite having the lowest cost of living and one of the lowest costs of doing business, Mississippi is still one of the worst states for business. The state has one of the lowest shares of college-educated adults, so finding qualified employees for highly skilled jobs could be difficult for businesses. This problem will likely worsen as Mississippi’s working-age population is actually projected to shrink over the next decade.

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47. Hawaii
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.2% (18th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $57,803 (18th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.9% (18th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.4 per 100,000 people (7th fewest)

Businesses in Hawaii face the highest energy bills of any state. The state also has the highest overall cost of living of in the country. Goods and services are 18.4% more expensive on average in Hawaii than they are nationwide.

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48. West Virginia
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.2% (17th best)
> Avg. earnings: $48,220 (6th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 20.2% (the lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.1 per 100,000 people (the fewest)

With a U.S.-low college degree attainment rate of 20.2%, West Virginia has relatively few qualified candidates for highly-skilled jobs that pay well and could boost the state’s economy. This is likely the reason why the state has almost no venture capital investments.

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49. New Mexico
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.1% (7th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $48,874 (8th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 27.1% (11th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.9 per 100,000 people (13th fewest)

A high crime rate can stifle economic activity and New Mexico has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. There were 783 incidents per 100,000 people — more than double the U.S. violent crime rate. New Mexico businesses also are subject to more burdensome regulations than those in most other states.

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50. Louisiana
> 1-yr. real GDP change: -0.8% (2nd worst)
> Avg. earnings: $51,131 (16th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 23.8% (4th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.2 per 100,000 people (2nd fewest)

Among all 50 states, Louisiana is the worst place to do business. Louisiana is one of just four states in which GDP declined in 2017. Businesses may also have a hard time hiring top-talent as just 23.8% of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the fourth smallest share of any state. A lack of reliable infrastructure is also a problem, as traffic congestion cost commercial trucking more than $2.3 billion in 2017, more than in all but 10 other states.