Special Report

Best and Worst States for Business

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1. Massachusetts
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.6% (9th best)
> Avg. earnings: $73,246 (2nd highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 43.4% (the highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 9.6 per 100,000 people (the most)

Access to a skilled labor force can be the difference between success and failure for any business, and in Massachusetts, 43.4% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the largest share of any state.

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2. Colorado
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.7% (8th best)
> Avg. earnings: $59,087 (15th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.2% (2nd highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 5.0 per 100,000 people (4th most)

A growing population can drive up consumer spending, lead to economic growth, and boost local businesses — and Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the country. The number of people age 15-55 living in Colorado is projected to grow by 10.5% between 2020 and 2030, more than double the comparable growth nationwide.

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3. Utah
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.5% (12th best)
> Avg. earnings: $50,655 (15th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.6% (12th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 3.4 per 100,000 people (8th most)

Population growth often means economic growth and a larger talent pool for businesses to hire from, and Utah is growing rapidly. The number of working-age adults in the state is projected to grow by 15.1% between 2020 and 2030, more than triple the 4.6% projected national population growth.

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4. North Dakota
> 1-yr. real GDP change: -0.5% (3rd worst)
> Avg. earnings: $53,013 (22nd lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.7% (25th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.9 per 100,000 people (14th fewest)

Population growth can drive economic growth and be a boon for business. Between 2020 and 2030, North Dakota’s population is projected to grow by 28.1%, more than any other state.

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5. Idaho
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.4% (14th best)
> Avg. earnings: $47,218 (4th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.8% (10th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.5 per 100,000 people (20th most)

Businesses in Idaho benefit from a favorable regulatory climate. A right to work state, just 4.7% of workers in the state are unionized, nearly the smallest share in the country. Low union membership helps employers in the state save on payroll expenses.

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