Best and Worst States for Business

Print Email

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

11. South Dakota
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +0.0% (5th worst)
> Avg. earnings: $47,876 (5th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 28.1% (16th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.3 per 100,000 people (5th fewest)

South Dakota ranks as one of the better U.S. states for business largely because it is a relatively inexpensive place to operate a company. The state has one of the most business friendly tax structures in the country on top of an already low overall cost of living.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

12. Vermont
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.3% (21st worst)
> Avg. earnings: $49,458 (11th lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.3% (7th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 3.8 per 100,000 people (7th most)

Businesses in Vermont benefit from reliable infrastructure. The typical commute in the state takes less time than the average nationwide to commute to work, and roadway congestion cost commercial trucking just $196.6 million in Vermont in 2017, less than all but three other states.

Source: Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photography / Getty Images

13. Minnesota
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.6% (23rd worst)
> Avg. earnings: $59,768 (14th highest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.1% (9th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 2.2 per 100,000 people (14th most)

Minnesota ranks as the best state for business in the Midwest. One reason is the labor force. A high school education is a prerequisite for employment in most jobs, and 93.1% of adults in Minnesota have finished high school, the largest share of state.

Source: collins_family / Flickr

14. Wyoming
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +1.4% (22nd worst)
> Avg. earnings: $52,773 (21st lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 27.6% (13th lowest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 0.9 per 100,000 people (12th fewest)

Wyoming has one of the best business climates in the country largely because it has relatively few regulations that can burden businesses. Wyoming ranks among the top 10 in the Mercatus Regulatory Freedom Index and the Institute for Legal Reform’s Lawsuit Climate score. It also has the most pro-business tax structure in the country, according to the Tax Foundation.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

15. North Carolina
> 1-yr. real GDP change: +2.4% (13th best)
> Avg. earnings: $53,844 (23rd lowest)
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 31.3% (24th highest)
> 2018 venture capital deals: 1.8 per 100,000 people (17th most)

North Carolina has a business friendly tax code relative to most other states, as well as anti-union policies. A right-to-work state, just 2.7% of workers in the state are unionized, meaning employers are less restricted by decisions related to pay and benefits for their workers.